Inquiry Into Suppression Or False Information By An employee Must Be ‘Fair And Reasonable’: Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court while deciding a case pertaining to suppression of material facts while applying for recruitment to the post of Constable (Executive) in the Delhi Police Examination, has set aside the order of termination of the Central Administrative Tribunal. The court held that the inquiry as to the nature of involvement in the information suppressed is required to be fairly conducted and the employee cannot automatically be held unsuitable for appointment merely on the ground of concealment.
The petitioner was provisionally selected for the post of Constable (Executive) Male in Delhi in 2020. The selection was subject to satisfactory verification of character and antecedents, medical fitness and final checking of documents. On verification, it was found that petitioner had been involved in a criminal case and was acquitted. Thus, the respondent terminated the services and candidature of the petitioner.
The Central Administrative Tribunal upheld the termination of the appellant and dismissed the application to reverse the termination order.
The case was heard by a Division Bench comprising of Justice V. Kameshwar Rao and Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta where the question arose whether suppression of material fact of an FIR filed against the petitioner should result in termination from the Delhi Police Services.
While setting aside the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, the Court interpreted the Supreme Court judgements Avatar Singh Vs Union of India (2016) 8 SCC 471 and Satish Chandra Yadav Vs Union of India 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 798. It held that the petitioner was not facing any criminal case at the time of filling of the initial application form, in which he also stood acquitted and that the competent authority had failed to consider and give due weight to the trivial nature of the office and was merely swept by the faction of non-disclosure and concealment of this relevant fact.
The court held that
“in spite of concealment of facts regarding involvement of the petitioner in an FIR, the authority concerned was required to apply an objective criteria and consider all attending facts and circumstances like age of the applicant, nature of offence and his/her antecedents before passing an order of termination. The Tribunal is stated to have proceeded only on the basis that there was concealment of information but without considering that there had been no further evaluation as to the nature of offence, antecedents etc.”
Further, the Court directed to reinstate the petitioner in service with all notional benefits including pay, security and other consequential benefits.
Case Title: Mahendra Solanki Versus The Commissioner Of Police & Anr
Case No: W.P.(C) 2219/2023
Counsel for Petitioner: Mr. Vaibhav Gaggar, Mr. Rajul Jain, Ms. Rhea Verma, Mr. Somdev Tiwari and Mr. Dev Karan Singh, Advocates
Counsel for Respondent: Mrs. Avnish Ahlawat, Standing Counsel, GNCTD (Services) with Ms. Tania Ahlawat, Mr. Nitesh Kumar Singh, Ms. Palak Rohmetra, Ms. Laavanya Kaushik and Ms. Aliza Alam, Advocates.