State Of West Bengal & Ors. Vs. Nazrul Islam (Supreme Court of India)- A person facing criminal cases cannot be considered suitable for appointment in government service unless acquitted of the charges, the Supreme Court has held. Quashing the appointment of constable SK Nazrul Islam, the apex court said, “Surely, the authorities entrusted with the responsibility of appointing constables were under duty to verify the antecedents of a candidate to find out whether he is suitable for the post of constable.”
“And so long as the candidate has not been acquitted in the criminal case of the charges he cannot possibly be held to be suitable for appointment to the post of constable.”
A bench of justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik passed the judgement while upholding the West Bengal government’s appeal challenging the high court’s direction to appoint Islam despite the fact that he was facing criminal charges.
Islam who was provisionally recruited in 2007 but during verification, it came to light that he was on bail and facing criminal charges under several IPC sections. The government soon terminated his appointment.
He then approached the Administrative Tribunal which dismissed his plea, following which he appealed in the high court. The court, however, directed his appointment subject to the final outcome of the criminal trial pending against him. The state appealed in the apex court.
Upholding the appeal, the bench said, “We fail to appreciate how when a criminal case under IPC sections 148, 323, 380, 427 against the respondent was pending in the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Uluberia, Howrah, any mandamus could have been issued by the high court to the authorities to appoint the respondent as a constable.”
Accordingly it quashed the high court order.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8638 OF 2011
(Arising out of S.L.P. (C) NO. 5449 OF 2011)
The State of West Bengal and Others … Appellants
Sk. Nazrul Islam ……………….Respondent
A. K. PATNAIK, J.
4. Aggrieved, the respondent filed O.A.No.2500 of 2008 before the West Bengal Administrative Tribunal for a direction upon the authorities to issue appointment letter in his favour, but by order dated 25.07.2008 the Tribunal declined to grant any relief to the respondent. The order of the Tribunal was challenged by the respondent before the High Court and in the impugned order, the High Court held that the authorities were not entitled to withhold the offer of appointment to the respondent and directed the authorities to issue the letter of appointment in favour of the respondent without any further delay. The High Court, however, observed in the impugned order that the appointment of the respondent to the post of Constable will abide by the final decision of the pending criminal case.
5. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and we fail to appreciate how when a criminal case under Sections 148/323/380/427/596, IPC, against the respondent was pending in the Court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Uluberia, Howrah, any mandamus could have been issued by the High Court to the authorities to appoint the respondent as a Constable. Surely, the authorities entrusted with the responsibility of appointing constables were under duty to verify the antecedents of a candidate to find out whether he is suitable for the post of constable and so long as the candidate has not been acquitted in the criminal case of the charges under Sections 148/323/380/427/596, IPC, he cannot possibly be held to be suitable for appointment to the post of Constable.6. We, therefore, allow the appeal, set aside the impugned order of the High Court and dismiss the Writ Petition under Articles 226/ 227 of the Constitution filed by the respondent in the High Court. There shall be no order as to costs.
October 13, 2011.