Recent Important Judgments On Service Law – Appointments, Pension, Disciplinary Proceedings


  1. Appointment and RTI matters

Supreme Court

Appointment Can’t Be Denied Citing Suppression of Material Facts When Employer’s Query Was Vague

The Court in State of West Bengal v. Mitul Kumar Jana 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 714, while adjudicating upon the allegations of suppressing information related to a criminal case during the application process, held that “For determining suppression or false information attestation/verification form has to be specific, not vague. Only such information 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 the basis of suppression or submitting false information as to a fact which was not even asked for.” The Court relied on Avtar Singh v. Union of India (2016) 8 SCC 471, which has outlined definitive guidelines for employers when dealing with cases involving suppression or false mention of criminal information by candidates.

The Bench comprised of Justices J.K. Maheshwari and K.V. Vishwanathan.

The case revolved around appointing a candidate to the constable post in the West Bengal Police Force. The candidate had faced allegations of suppressing information about a criminal case during the application process. A column had to be filled in the form where candidates were required to provide details about their arrest, detention, conviction, and sentence for any offense.

The Court opined that the respondent (constable) was not obligated to furnish information about pending criminal cases, as the query specifically pertained to arrest, detention, and conviction. Based on this, the Court directed the appellant to consider the case of the respondent and issue an order of appointment to the post of constable in the West Bengal Police Force within four weeks from the date of passing of the order.

Report on this case can be read here.

Once Appointment Is Declared Illegal & Void Ab Initio, One Cannot Legally Continue in Service & Claim Salary

A Division Bench, while hearing an appeal against a judgment of the Gauhati High Court, held once appointment has been declared illegal and void ab initio, continuing in service becomes untenable in the absence of challenge to the cancellation order. It further held that the failure to contest the cancellation order bars the appellant from claiming a legal right to continue in service and consequent salary claims.

The Bench comprised of Justices Hima Kohli and Rajesh Bindal.

In its impugned order, the High Court dismissed the claim of appellant for release of unpaid salary from 2001 onwards as an Assistant teacher in Assam. The Apex Court refused to interfere with the impugned judgment and opined:

Once the appointment of the appellant had been declared illegal and void ab initio, and was canceled by the Director of Elementary Education, Assam vide order dated 18.10.2001, the appellant could not legally continue in service thereafter unless that cancellation order was set aside. It has been noticed by the High Court that the order dated 18.10.2001 was never challenged by the appellant. Thus, the appellant had no legal right to continue in service, especially when there was no order or letter placed on record by the appellant that she was allowed to continue beyond 31.03.2002. No claim for payment of salary could be made for any period.”

Based on these facts and circumstance, the Court dismissed the appeal.

Smt Dulu Deka v. State of Assam, 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 691

Report on this case can be read here.

Persons Who Secure Job in Reserved Posts Based On False Caste Certificates Liable to Be Dismissed

A Division Bench of the Court, while hearing an appealin Bhubaneswar Development Authority v. Madhumita Das & Ors, 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 644, reiterated that no protection should be given to persons who secure public employment through false caste certificates. The Court set aside a judgment of the Orissa High Court which directed a public authority to consider reinstating an employee, who was found to have obtained employment in reserved post on the basis of a false certificate.

The Court opined that it is immaterial whether the caste certificate was submitted fraudulently or due to a genuine mistaken belief. Intent is of no consequence.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala held “that granting protection to individuals who are ineligible for the post has a deleterious effect on good governance.” It further added that the said protection would allow an ineligible person to gain access to a scarce public resource, violate the rights of an eligible person, and perpetuate illegality by unduly bestowing benefits on an ineligible person.

Report on the case can be read here.

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