By Pratibha Chand ~ Law College Dehradun
CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 18799/2017
FACTS OF CASE
The appellants filed a case against the respondent for being involved in some criminal matter before the High Court. The respondent, the person who worked under them as an employee. He has been terminated from his service on the basis of gathering information and that has been verified through the prior events that happened there. The appellants aggrieved by the judgement of a learned single judge of the High Court that the termination of respondent found to be illegal. He was terminated after entering into 3 years of service when it was found that the respondent had been involved in a criminal case.
- REFERENCE OF THE CASE AVTAR SINGH VS UNION OF INDIA AND ORS.
The case has reported in the year 2016 in SUPREME COURT, relevant portion of judgement of the case dealt with this issue –
- The Information given by the candidate to the employer related to conviction, acquittal or arrest, or pendency of a criminal case, whether before or after entering into service must be true and there should be no suppression or false mention of required information.
- The employer may take notice of circumstances of the case, if any, while passing order of termination of services or cancellation of candidature for giving false information,
- The employer shall take into consideration the Government orders/instructions/rules which are applicable to the employee, at the time of taking the decision.
QUESTIONS/ISSUES TAKEN UP IN THE CASE
- In such cases those are trivial in nature in which conviction had been recorded at young age for a petty offence which if disclosed would not have rendered any post in question. The employer may ignore such suppression of fact or false information all by his decision.
- The case is not trivial in nature where conviction of the person has been recorded. Employers may cancel candidature or terminate services of the employee. If acquittal had already been recorded in a case involving moral turpitude or offence of heinous nature. ow, it is not a case of clean acquittal or any kind of benefit of reasonable doubt has been given, so the employer may consider all relevant facts available as facts and may take appropriate decision as to the continuance of the employee or not?
- The employee has made a declaration truthfully of involvement in a criminal case. The employer still has the right to consider antecedents and not to accept the appointment of a candidate. In cases where facts have been truthfully declared in character verification form regarding pendency of a criminal case of trivial nature, employer may appoint the candidate subject to decision of such case in his discretionary power.
- In a case of deliberate suppression of fact with respect to multiple pending cases, such false information by itself will assume significance and an employer may pass appropriate order to the cancelling candidature of services, instead of appointment of a person against whom multiple criminal cases were pending which does not sound relevant. If a criminal case was pending but not known to the candidate at the time of filling the form, still it may have adverse impact and the appointing authority has the right to take decision after considering the seriousness of the crime.
- When the employee/respondent is confirmed in service, holding departmental enquiry shall be necessary before passing an order of termination on the ground of submitting false information in verification form. But no enquiry has been done by officers. Only information has to be disclosed which was required to be specifically mentioned. If information not asked for but is relevant comes to knowledge of the employer the same can be considered in an objective manner while addressing the question of fitness. However, in such cases action cannot be taken only on the basis of suppression or submitting false information which was not even asked for.
Regarding the facts and circumstances of the case, SUPREME COURT held that the respondent should be permitted to file an appropriate representation of his side before the Appointing Authority. In the light of the judgment referred in case of Avtar Singh v. Union of India and Others, a speaking order on the representation shall be passed after affording an opportunity for hearing to the respondent, within four months, after such representation filed by the respondent.
Furthermore, the bench said that the Appointing Authority will also verify whether there was involvement of the respondent in any other criminal case, at the time of incident and his conduct during the period of service and also the fact that he has served for around five years under the CRPF. The appeal got disposed of. If there are any Pending applications shall stand disposed of. There shall be no orders as to costs during the case run.
The respondent got terminated after 3 years of entering service on the basis of gathering information which he provided to the employer by himself. It was held that the respondent had a criminal background. Although the case was a trivial issue between friends regarding the cricket match. Also this all had happened way before filling the application of appointment. Employers may cancel candidature or terminate services of the employee. Employers have the right to consider antecedents and cannot be compelled to appoint the candidate. But their employer did not do that.
Also, there has not even one enquiry by the department before termination and while passing order of termination of services for giving false information, the employer may take notice of the case at least while giving such information as termination to respondent because the he has the right to know the reasons on which regards he has been removing.
POINT OF VIEW OF AUTHER’S
The process of handling the situation could have been more precise and smoother. Firstly, the respondent by himself declared the truth and the employer had the chance not to accept the application of appointment. But none of this happened and after 3 years of service respondent had been terminated because of that criminal issue. Also, he does not get the notice of termination which is unlawful towards him. Before a person is found to be guilty, at least knowledge of the fact must be attributed to him. But that did not happen. So, there is a need for a chance and fair trial to place his point of view. Department has to think about its reputation and that is why he was removed by them which, in the author’s point of view, is not wrong. But the way he has been terminated without any sufficient reason is wrong. That is why the Supreme Court held right decision to give a chance to set the enquiry and order on the representation to be passed after affording an opportunity for hearing to the respondent.
 (2016) 8 SCC 471