New Delhi: Mere suppression of material or false information in a given case does not mean that the employer can arbitrarily discharge/terminate the employee from service, the Supreme Court has said.
A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna said a candidate who intends to participate in the selection process is always required to furnish correct information relating to his character and antecedents in the verification/attestation form before and after induction into service.
"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 the pen.
"At the same time, the effect of suppression of material/false information involving in a criminal case, if any, is left for the employer to consider all the relevant facts and circumstances available as to antecedents and keeping in view the objective criteria and the relevant service rules into consideration while taking appropriate decision regarding continuance/suitability of the employee into service," the bench said.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Pawan Kumar who was selected for the post of constable in the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
While he was undergoing training, he came to be discharged by an order on the ground that he did not disclose that an FIR was registered against him.
The top court said that the person who has suppressed the material information or has made a false declaration has no unfettered right of seeking appointment or continuity in service, but at least has a right not to be dealt with arbitrarily.
The apex court said at the time of the attestation form filled by the appellant, the criminal case was already registered against him but it may be noticed that at the very threshold, the complainant filed his affidavit that the complaint on which FIR came to be registered was due to misunderstanding.
"The criminal case indeed was of trivial nature and the nature of post and nature of duties to be discharged by the recruit has never been looked into by the competent authority while examining the overall suitability of the incumbent to become a member of the force.
"In our considered view the order of discharge passed by the competent authority dated 24th April 2015 is not sustainable and in sequel thereto the judgement passed by the Division Bench of High Court of Delhi does not hold good and deserves to be set aside," the bench said.