13 April 2023 8:30 AM GMT
A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli while deciding a Letters Patent Appeal (“LPA”) in the case of Parul vs Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited and another has held that the question of eligibility does not arise as the applicant’s attempt to obtain appointment by playing fraud disentitles her to...
A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli while deciding a Letters Patent Appeal (“LPA”) in the case of Parul vs Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited and another has held that the question of eligibility does not arise as the applicant’s attempt to obtain appointment by playing fraud disentitles her to be considered for appointment or to claim appointment.
Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (“Respondent”) issued an advertisement in 2016 for making appointments to the posts of Lower Divisional Clerks. The advertisement prescribed that an ‘O’ level certificate issued by National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) was a necessary eligibility qualification. Parul (“Appellant”) applied for the post and she filed document to indicate that she had the ‘O’ Level course certificate issued by NIELIT. Thereafter, the appellant on the basis of the said certificate appeared in the selection process. She was ultimately appointed as Lower Divisional Clerk (LDC), vide letter dated 10.06.2019.
However, the respondent-authority found that the certificate was not genuine as it was in fact issued to some other candidate. The certificate relied upon by the appellant for the purposes of claiming eligibility and appointment had never been issued to her by the NIELIT. Consequently, the respondent authorities issued a Show Cause Notice to the appellant and thereafter finding the certificate to be fraudulent, issued the impugned order dated 16.12.2020 terminating her services.
A writ petition was filed by Parul before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Single Judge regarding her termination of the services, which dismissed the petition on the ground that practicing fraud vitiated the appointment. The Single Judge relied on cases such as Madhulika v. DHBVNL and others, and Managing Committee, Goswani Ganesh Dutt Sanatan Dharam College, Palwal and another v. Sabir Hussain and others 2022(2) SCT 386.
The appellant contended that even if the certificate is found to be fraudulent, she even otherwise fulfills the eligibility qualification prescribed by the authorities. She possessed a BCA degree, which was a qualification subsequently prescribed and accepted by the authorities. Thus, the termination order must be set aside.
Findings of the Court
The court observed that from the appointment letter, it was clear that the appointment was subject to verification of documents/certificates. The services of the appellant were liable to be terminated without any notice if the documents were not found to be genuine. The authorities after finding that the appellant had failed to submit any evidence regarding genuineness of the document filed by her, held that the appointment obtained by her by submitting fake/forged certificate was void ab initio and non-est. Consequently, the authorities issued the impugned order of termination on 16.12.2020.
The court relied on the Supreme Court case of Meghmala and others v. G. Narasimha Reddy and others, 2010(8) SCC 383 wherein it was held that where an applicant gets an order/office by making misrepresentation or playing fraud upon the competent Authority, such order cannot be sustained in the eyes of law. It also relied on the case of Regional Manager, Central Bank of India v. Madhulika Guruprasad Dahir and others, 2008(13) SCC 170 where a person had obtained appointment on the basis of a false caste certificate, the Supreme Court held that fraud vitiates everything. Therefore, even if a person has continued to work on the post for over 20 years, even then, having obtained appointment on the basis of false and forged caste certificate, cannot claim any equity or benefit on that basis. Reliance was also placed on the case of Devendra Kumar v. State of Uttaranchal and others, 2013(9) SCC 363 wherein the Supreme Court upheld the cancellation of appointment of a person who had obtained the same by suppressing material facts regarding the criminal case pending against him. The court observed that the Single Judge has rightly relied upon the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in Managing Committee, Goswani Ganesh Dutt Sanatan Dharam College to uphold the termination of the services of the appellant in the instance case.
It observed that no fault can be found with the act of the authorities in terminating the services. The action that has been taken against the appellant has been taken on account of fraud committed by the appellant. Therefore, the question of her being eligible or otherwise does not arise as her attempt to obtain appointment by playing fraud disentitles her to be considered for appointment or to claim appointment. It held that fraud renders the appointment itself void ab initio and non-est, and the act of the appellant renders her ineligible for being considered for appointment. Thus, the court did not find any merit in the appeal.
With the aforesaid observations, the Division Bench dismissed the appeal.
Case No: LPA-296-2023 (O&M)
Case Name: Parul vs Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited and another
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (PH) 61
Counsel for Appellant: Adv. R.K. Malik, Adv. Sandeep Dhull
Counsel for Respondent: Adv. Dhanpat Rai Singh
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