SC: Employer Cannot Arbitrarily Discharge Employee for Mere Suppression of Criminal Case

Supreme Court Law Insider

Khushi Gupta

Published on: May 8, 2022 at 13:16 IST

The Supreme Court recently held that mere suppression of information regarding pending Criminal Cases does not mean that employers can Arbitrarily terminate the service of the concerned employee.

A Division Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna relying on the decision in Avtar Singh Vs. Union of India and Others (2016), said:

“Mere suppression of material/false information regardless of the fact whether there is a conviction or acquittal has been recorded, the employee/recruit is not to be discharged/terminated axiomatically from service just by a stroke of pen.”

“…What being (sic) noticed by this Court is that mere suppression of material/false information in a given case does not mean that the employer can Arbitrarily discharge/terminate the employee from service”.

“The power has to be judiciously exercised by the competent authority in a reasonable manner with objectivity having due regard to the facts of the case on hand,” the Court said.

The Top Court was hearing an appeal regarding a decision of the Delhi High Court that had upheld the discharge Order passed against the Appellant-employee by Railway authorities on the ground that he had failed to disclose information regarding a Criminal Case against him.

The Appellant was selected for the post of Constable in the Railway Protection Force. While he was undergoing training, he came to be discharged from the service on the ground that he failed to disclose that First Information Report against him for the Offence of armed rioting.

The High Court dismissed a Writ Petition moved by the Appellant against the discharge Orders.

“The Criminal complaint/First Information Report in the present Case was registered post submission of the application form.”

“We have also taken into account the nature of the allegations made in the criminal case and that the matter was of trivial nature not involving moral turpitude. Further, the Proceedings had ended in a clean acquittal,” the Court observed.

The Respondent-authorities were, therefore, directed to reinstate the Appellant in service as Constable.

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