Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


1. The present special leave petition is directed against the judgment
and order dated 16.11.2021 passed by the High Court of Judicature
for Rajasthan Bench at Jaipur, whereby the Division Bench has
allowed the D.B. Special Appeal Writ No. 637 of 2021 filed by the
respondents-Union of India (appellants before the Division Bench),
and has set aside the order dated 17.02.2021 passed by the Single
Bench, which had allowed the Civil Writ Petition No. 17475 of 2018
filed by the present petitioner (respondent before the Division Bench).
2. The present petitioner was appointed on the post of constable in the
CISF on 03.11.2007. In April, 2009 the petitioner received a
notice/Memorandum of charge under the Rule 36 of CISF Rules 2001
(hereinafter referred to as the “the said Rules”) from the office of
Commandant Discipline, CISF in which it was alleged that the
petitioner at the time of submitting verification of his character
certificate had suppressed the fact that he was involved in a criminal
case for the offence under sections 323, 324 and 341 of IPC in
respect of which an FIR being No. 153/2003 was registered against
him on 21.10.2003; and that on the Investigating Officer in the said
proceedings having submitted the charge-sheet before the concerned
Court, the case was pending for trial before the said Court when the
character certificate was submitted by the petitioner to the CISF
authorities. It was also stated therein that since the act of suppression
of information regarding pendency of the criminal litigation in his
character certificate filed along with the appointment letter, was under
the category of gross misconduct and indiscipline, he was not eligible
to be appointed in a very disciplined police force i.e. CISF. Thereafter,
disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the petitioner. During
the course of disciplinary proceedings, the petitioner accepted his
mistake. The Commandant Discipline, CISF, keeping in view the
young age and future prospects of the petitioner, imposed
punishment of reduction of pay by one stage from Rs. 6320- 6070/- in
the pay band of Rs.5200-20,200/- with grade pay. However, on
06.10.2009, the Deputy Inspector General (West Zone), Air Port
Head Quarter – Navi Mumbai – suo motu took the cognizance of the
matter revising the order dated 11.07.2009 and remitted the matter
back for fresh departmental enquiry against the petitioner invoking
Rule 54 of CISF Rules, 2001. The said departmental enquiry
culminated into the removal of the petitioner from service on
09.03.2010, against which the petitioner had filed a departmental
appeal, however, the said appeal came to be dismissed by the
appellate authority vide the order dated 23.06.2010. The revision
petition filed by the petitioner before the competent authority assailing
the said order dated 23.06.2010 also came to be dismissed by the
Revisional Authority vide the order dated 21.12.2010.
3. Being aggrieved by the said orders, passed by the various authorities
of CISF, the petitioner filed a writ petition being No. 8190 of 2012
before the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jaipur. The
Single Bench vide order dated 16.02.2018 set aside the order of
removal passed against the petitioner and directed the petitioner to
file a detailed representation before the appointing authority for
reconsideration of his case in the context of the judgment of the
Supreme Court in case of Avtar Singh Vs. Union of India & Ors1
and directed the appointing authority to decide the representation of
the petitioner by a reasoned and speaking order with reference to the
said judgment. The Commandant CISF Unit CSIA, Mumbai after
considering the representation of the petitioner in the light of the
judgment in case of Avtar Singh (supra), held that the CISF being an
Armed Force of Union of India, which is deployed in sensitive sectors,
the force personnel are required to maintain discipline of the highest
order, and that the involvement of the petitioner in the grave offences
debarred him from the appointment to such force and, therefore, he
was not found suitable for the appointment in CISF for the post of
constable/GD vide order dated 14.05.2018.
4. The petitioner again filed a writ petition being No. 17475/2018
assailing the said order dated 14.05.2018. The Single Bench again
set aside the said order and allowed the writ petition directing the
respondents to reinstate the petitioner in service with all
consequential benefits vide the order dated 17.02.2021. The
respondents filed the Special Writ Appeal before the Division Bench,
against the order passed by the Sigle Bench, which appeal came to
be allowed by the Division Bench vide the impugned order.
1 (2016) 8 SCC 471
5. Ms. Asifa Rashid Mir, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner
vehemently submitted that the petitioner was involved in a criminal
case when he was hardly aged about 19 years and the said case had
resulted into a compromise between the parties. According to her, on
the basis of the said compromise, the Trial Court had closed the case
on 21.11.2007, and the petitioner was appointed as constable in
CISF on 03.11.2007. Relying upon the various decisions of this Court
and other High Courts, she further submitted that considering the
nature of offence in which the petitioner was allegedly involved, the
removal from service on the ground of non-disclosure of pendency of
the said case could not be said to be a grave misconduct attracting
the harsh punishment of removal from service. The Division Bench of
the High Court, runs the submissions of the counsel for the petitioner,
should not have interfered with the well-reasoned order passed by
the Single Bench which had found the involvement of the petitioner in
a case of trivial nature. According to her, even if a deliberate
suppression by the petitioner as alleged by the respondents was
found to have taken place at the time of filing the character certificate,
a lenient view should have been taken by the respondents
considering his age and considering the fact that the petitioner had
accepted his mistake.
6. The Senior Advocate Mr. R. Bala Subramanian, appearing for the
respondents however, taking the Court to the CISF Rules 2001, the
circulars applicable to all Central Armed Police Force (CAPF)
including the CISF regarding the policy guidelines to be followed in
respect of the candidates against whom criminal cases are pending
vide OM dated 01.02.2012, dealing with suppression of information or
submitting false information in the verification form, submitted that the
CISF being very disciplined police force and the post of constable
being very sensitive post, the petitioner who was found to be guilty of
gross misconduct of suppressing the material fact of his involvement
in the criminal case at the time of seeking appointment, could not
have been continued in service, and that the Division Bench has
rightly considered the facts of the case and upheld the decision of the
respondent authority, which may not be interfered with.
7. In the instant case, both the learned counsels for the parties have
relied upon decision of this Court in Avtar Singh (supra) in which a
three-judge Bench emphasizing the need of verification of character
and antecedents of the person to be appointed in the government
service and after considering the various previous judgments of this
Court, had summarized the principles in para 38 which reads as
“38. We have noticed various decisions and tried to explain and
reconcile them as far as possible. In view of the aforesaid
discussion, we summarise our conclusion thus:
38.1. Information given to the employer by a
candidate as 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.
38.2. While passing order of termination of
services or cancellation of candidature for giving
false information, the employer may take notice of
special circumstances of the case, if any, while
giving such information.
38.3. The employer shall take into consideration
the government orders/instructions/rules,
applicable to the employee, at the time of taking
the decision.
38.4. In case there is suppression or false
information of involvement in a criminal case
where conviction or acquittal had already been
recorded before filling of the
application/verification form and such fact later
comes to knowledge of employer, any of the
following recourses appropriate to the case may
be adopted:
38.4.1. In a case trivial in nature in which
conviction had been recorded, such as shouting
slogans at young age or for a petty offence which
if disclosed would not have rendered an
incumbent unfit for post in question, the employer
may, in its discretion, ignore such suppression of
fact or false information by condoning the lapse.
38.4.2. Where conviction has been recorded in
case which is not trivial in nature, employer may
cancel candidature or terminate services of the
38.4.3. If acquittal had already been recorded in a
case involving moral turpitude or offence of
heinous/serious nature, on technical ground and
it is not a case of clean acquittal, or benefit of
reasonable doubt has been given, the employer
may consider all relevant facts available as to
antecedents, and may take appropriate decision
as to the continuance of the employee.
38.5. In a case where the employee has made
declaration truthfully of a concluded criminal
case, the employer still has the right to consider
antecedents, and cannot be compelled to appoint
the candidate.
38.6. In case when fact has been truthfully
declared in character verification form regarding
pendency of a criminal case of trivial nature,
employer, in facts and circumstances of the case,
in its discretion, may appoint the candidate
subject to decision of such case.
38.7. 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
cancelling candidature or terminating services as
appointment of a person against whom multiple
criminal cases were pending may not be proper.
38.8. If 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 would take decision after considering
the seriousness of the crime.
38.9. In case the employee is confirmed in
service, holding departmental enquiry would be
necessary before passing order of
termination/removal or dismissal on the ground of
suppression or submitting false
information in verification form.
38.10. For determining suppression or false
information attestation/verification form has to be
specific, not vague. Only such information which
was required to be specifically mentioned has to
be disclosed. 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 on
basis of suppression or submitting false
information as to a fact which was not even asked
38.11. Before a person is held guilty of suppressio
veri or suggestio falsi, knowledge of the fact must
be attributable to him”.
8. It may be noted that even after the guiding principles laid down in the
case of Avtar Singh by the three-judge Bench, divergent views were
expressed by the various benches of this Court. Therefore, this Court
in case of Satish Chandra Yadav Vs. Union of India & Others.2
after taking into consideration the inconsistent views taken in the
cases of Union of India & Ors. Vs Methu Meda3
; Union of India vs.
Dilip Kumar Mallick4
; Pawan Kumar vs. Union of India & Anr.5
Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited & Anr. vs. Anil
; Mohammed Imran Vs. State of Maharashtra &
; etc., further laid down following principles:
“89. The only reason to refer to and look into the
various decisions rendered by this Court as
above over a period of time is that the principles
of law laid therein governing the subject are bit
inconsistent. Even after, the larger Bench
2 (2022) SCC Online SC 1300
3 (2022) 1 SCC 1
4 (2022) 6 Scale 108
5 (2022) SCC Online SC 532
6 (2021) 10 SCC 136
7 (2019) 17 SCC 696
decision in the case of Avtar Singh (supra)
different courts have enunciated different
90. In such circumstances, we undertook some
exercise to shortlist the broad principles of law
which should be made applicable to the litigations
of the present nature. The principles are as
a) Each case should be scrutinised thoroughly by
the public employer concerned, through its
designated officials-more so, in the case of
recruitment for the police force, who are under a
duty to maintain order, and tackle lawlessness,
since their ability to inspire public confidence is a
bulwark to society's security. [See Raj
Kumar (supra)]
b) Even in a case where the employee has made
declaration truthfully and correctly of a concluded
criminal case, the employer still has the right to
consider the antecedents, and cannot be
compelled to appoint the candidate. The acquittal
in a criminal case would not automatically entitle
a candidate for appointment to the post. It would
be still open to the employer to consider the
antecedents and examine whether the candidate
concerned is suitable and fit for appointment to
the post.
c) The suppression of material information and
making a false statement in the verification Form
relating to arrest, prosecution, conviction etc.,
has a clear bearing on the character, conduct and
antecedents of the employee. If it is found that the
employee had suppressed or given false
information in regard to the matters having a
bearing on his fitness or suitability to the post, he
can be terminated from service.
d) The generalisations about the youth, career
prospects and age of the candidates leading to
condonation of the offenders' conduct, should not
enter the judicial verdict and should be avoided.
e) The Court should inquire whether the Authority
concerned whose action is being challenged
acted mala fide.
f) Is there any element of bias in the decision of
the Authority?
g) Whether the procedure of inquiry adopted by
the Authority concerned was fair and
9. Having regard to the guiding principles, laid down in case of Avtar
Singh (supra) and in case of Satish Chandra Yadav (supra), this
Court has no hesitation in holding that the Single Bench of the High
Court had committed an error in interfering with the order passed by
the respondents-authorities. The respondents-authorities had after
taking into consideration the decision in case of Avtar Singh
terminated the services of the petitioner holding inter-alia that while
the petitioner was appointed in CISF, a criminal case was pending
against him at the time of his enrolment in the force, but he did not
reveal the same and that there was deliberate suppression of facts
which was an aggravating circumstance. It was also held that CISF
being an armed force of Union of India, is deployed in sensitive
sectors such as airports, ports, department of atomic energy,
department of space, metro, power and steel, for internal security
duty etc., and therefore, the force personnel are required to maintain
discipline of the highest order; and that the involvement of the
petitioner in such grave offences debarred him from the appointment.
Such a well-reasoned and well considered decision of the
respondent-authorities should not have been interfered by the Single
Bench in exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution,
more particularly when there were no allegations of malafides or of
non-observance of rules of natural justice or of breach of statutory
rules were attributed against the respondent authorities.
10. The Constitution Bench, in case of State of Orissa & Others vs.
Bidyabhushan Mohapatra8
 had observed way back in 1963 that
having regard to the gravity of the established misconduct, the
punishing authority had the power and jurisdiction to impose
punishment. The penalty was not open to review by the High Court
under Article 226. A three-judge Bench in case of B.C. Chaturvedi
vs. Union of India & Ors9
 had also held that judicial review is not an
appeal from a decision but a review of the manner in which the
decision is made. Power of judicial review is meant to ensure that the
individual receives fair treatment and not to ensure that the
conclusion which the authority reaches is necessarily correct in the
eye of the Court. When an inquiry is conducted on the charges of
8 AIR 1963 SC 779
9 (1995) 6 SCC 749
misconduct by a public servant, the Court or Tribunal would be
concerned only to the extent of determining whether the inquiry was
held by a competent officer or whether the rules of natural justice and
statutory rules were complied with.
11. In Om Kumar & Others vs. Union of India10 this Court had also
after considering the Wednesbury Principles and the doctrine of
proportionality held that the question of quantum of punishment in
disciplinary matters is primarily for the disciplinary authority, and the
jurisdiction of the High Courts under Article 226 of the Constitution or
of the Administrative Tribunals is limited and is confined to the
applicability of one or the other of the well-known principles known
as “Wednesbury Principles”11 namely whether the order was contrary
to law, or whether relevant factors were not considered, or whether
irrelevant factors were considered or whether the decision was one
which no reasonable person could have taken.
12. Again, a three-judge Bench in case of Deputy General Manager
(Appellate Authority) & Ors. vs. Ajai Kumar Srivastava12
10 (2001) 2 SCC 386
11 Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. vs. Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1 KB 223
12 (2021) 2 SCC 612
circumscribing the power of judicial review by the constitutional courts
held as under:
“24. It is thus settled that the power of judicial
review, of the constitutional courts, is an
evaluation of the decision-making process and
not the merits of the decision itself. It is to ensure
fairness in treatment and not to ensure fairness of
conclusion. The court/tribunal may interfere in the
proceedings held against the delinquent if it is, in
any manner, inconsistent with the rules of natural
justice or in violation of the statutory rules
prescribing the mode of enquiry or where the
conclusion or finding reached by the disciplinary
authority is based on no evidence. If the
conclusion or finding be such as no reasonable
person would have ever reached or where the
conclusions upon consideration of the evidence
reached by the disciplinary authority are perverse
or suffer from patent error on the face of record or
based on no evidence at all, a writ of certiorari
could be issued. To sum up, the scope of judicial
review cannot be extended to the examination of
correctness or reasonableness of a decision of
authority as a matter of fact.
25. xxxxxxx
26. xxxxxxx
28. The constitutional court while exercising its
jurisdiction of judicial review under Article 226 or
Article 136 of the Constitution would not interfere
with the findings of fact arrived at in the
departmental enquiry proceedings except in a
case of mala fides or perversity i.e. where there is
no evidence to support a finding or where a
finding is such that no man acting reasonably and
with objectivity could have arrived at those
findings and so long as there is some evidence to
support the conclusion arrived at by the
departmental authority, the same has to be
13. In view of the afore-stated legal position, we are of the opinion that
the Division Bench of the High Court had rightly set aside the order
passed by the Single Bench, which had wrongly interfered with the
order of removal passed by the respondent authorities against the
petitioner. The petitioner having been found to have committed gross
misconduct right at the threshold of entering into disciplined force like
CISF, and the respondent authorities having passed the order of his
removal from service after following due process of law and without
actuated by malafides, the court is not inclined to exercise its limited
jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution.
14. In that view of the matter the SLP is dismissed.
..………………………. J.


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