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Supreme Court: Employee holding civil post has to act with utmost good faith

During the arguments before the apex court, the counsel appearing for the man had contended that as he had his education in Hindi, he could not understand the meaning of the word 'prosecution' in the form given for verification of antecedents and filled it wrong

PTI | Updated on: Saturday, April 02, 2022, 03:33 PM IST

Supreme Court of India | PTI
Supreme Court of India | PTI
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New Delhi: An employee desirous of holding a civil post has to act with utmost good faith and truthfulness, the Supreme Court has said while upholding the sacking of a teacher for not disclosing a criminal case registered against him in the official forms.

The man had joined as a trained graduate teacher of mathematics here in 1999 and was removed from service in 2008 after it was found that he had concealed the information about the case registered in Rajasthan.

"In the present case, the respondent (man) is responsible for shaping the career of young students. What kind of message he will be giving to the students by his conduct based on untruthfulness?" a bench of justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said in its order passed on March 31.

The top court allowed the appeal filed by the Delhi government and others against the December 2012 order passed by the Delhi High Court which had set aside the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in the matter.

The CAT had dismissed the application filed by the man who had challenged the order of removal from service.

The apex court, while setting aside the high court order, restored the order passed by the CAT.

"But, an employee desirous of holding a civil post has to act with utmost good faith and truthfulness. Truthfulness cannot be made causality by an aspirant much more for a candidate aspiring to be a teacher," the bench said.

During the arguments before the apex court, the counsel appearing for the man had contended that as he had his education in Hindi, he could not understand the meaning of the word 'prosecution' in the form given for verification of antecedents and filled it wrong.

"We find that the respondent, seeking appointment to the post of trained graduate teacher, is not an illiterate or uneducated person who can claim the ignorance of the meaning of the word 'prosecution'," the bench said.

It noted that the man was offered the post of trained graduate teacher of mathematics after the test conducted by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board in November 1999 and he had joined in December 1999.

After joining, an attestation form was given for verification of antecedents and he had answered the question 'have you ever been prosecuted' in the negative.

He again filled up the antecedent form in December 2005 and denied that he was prosecuted.

However, it was found during verification that a criminal case was registered against him and a charge sheet was filed in a court in Rajasthan in April 1994.

He was served a charge memo in June 2006 calling upon him to explain why he had concealed the fact regarding the case registered against him.

In response to the charge memo, he had stated that he forgot about the incident "after acquittal" and the column was filled by oversight.

The man had also said that he was residing in Delhi since July 1996 and had no idea about the status of the case after 1996.

However, an order of removal from service was passed in June 2008 by the authority after considering the reply filed by him and his appeal against the order was dismissed in June 2009.

Later, he approached the CAT challenging the order of removal from service.

The CAT had dismissed his application but later, the high court had allowed the writ petition filed against the CAT's order.

In its order, the bench noted that an incumbent should not have antecedents of such a nature that may adjudge him unsuitable for the post.

"Consequently, the appeal is allowed. The orders passed by the high court are set aside; the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal is restored, consequently, the order of removal is upheld," the apex court said.

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Published on: Saturday, April 02, 2022, 03:33 PM IST