Aspiring cops liable to be denied recruitment due to pending criminal cases: HC

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Allahabad, Mar 24 (PTI) Police and security personnel are expected to bear impeccable character and unimpeachable integrity to retain people’s confidence and an aspirant facing criminal cases is liable to be denied appointment in the police force, the Allahabad High Court has ruled.

A bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot gave the ruling stipulating that the decision to deny the appointment is further justified when taken with due adherence to the principle of natural justice and after hearing the applicant.

The bench gave the ruling while endorsing the decision of the Jalaun superintendent of police to cancel the appointment of Uttar Pradesh resident Sanjay Kumar in the police force on the ground of some criminal cases pending against him.

“The police is a disciplined force which is charged with the duty to uphold the law and order in the state,” Justice Bhanot said.

“Personnel in uniform belonging to disciplined forces are expected to bear impeccable character and possess unimpeachable integrity. Adherence to these standards is essential to enable them to discharge their duties effectively and retain the confidence of the public at large,” the bench said.

While endorsing the Jalaun SP’s decision, the bench pointed out that the decision was taken with due adherence to the principle of natural justice and after giving Kumar due opportunity to have his say.

The bench gave the ruling last Friday on Kumar’s petition challenging the denial of the appointment in UP police on the ground that some criminal cases were pending against him.

Arguing for Kumar, his counsel contended that his client had already apprised the police recruitment authority about all the criminal cases pending against him and the status of probe into them.

Opposing Kumar’s plea, the government counsel submitted to the court that the petitioner was named in several criminal cases including one case of moral turpitude.

Dealing with the matter, the court also relied on the judgement in the case of Avtar Singh, in which the Apex court had held, 'In a case where the employee has truthfully made the declaration of a concluded criminal case, the employer still has the right to consider antecedents and cannot be compelled to appoint the candidate.' Relying on the apex court ruling, the high court bench said by merely disclosing the pending criminal cases against him, an applicant cannot prevent the appointing authority from cancelling his appointment.

Conceding the need for the appointment authority to follow the principle of natural justice in denying the appointment on the ground of pending criminal cases against the appointment, the bench said, “The adverse material has to be provided to the candidate” to help him defend himself and 'point out mitigating circumstances in his favour in the proceeding'.

“When the need arises a fair and impartial opportunity of hearing may be given to such candidate,” the bench said.

The bench, however, after going through the Jalaun SP’s order refusing to appoint Kumar, the court said that the petitioner was given full opportunity of hearing before the order rejecting his appointment was passed. PTI CORR RAJ RAX RAX