Suppressing facts to secure job is cheating: Karnataka High Court

The petitioner was one among three candidates in the select list dated August 14, 2020, who were recommended for appointment to the post of District Judges.
Karnataka High Court. (Photo | Express)
Karnataka High Court. (Photo | Express)

BENGALURU: Observing that in cases where fraud and misrepresentation form the foundation for securing employment be brought under the umbrella of ingredients of cheating, the Karnataka High Court rejected a petition filed by an advocate questioning the criminal proceedings initiated against him. The court had also cancelling his candidature for the post of District Judge for providing false information while applying for the job.

“The petitioner has deliberately suppressed cases pending against him (while applying for the post of District Judge) and therefore, it amounts to seeking to secure employment on account of misrepresentation,” said Justice M Nagaprasanna, while dismissing the petition filed by Palaksha SS, a practising advocate from Kodagu district, questioning the case registered by the high court. The petitioner was one among three candidates in the select list dated August 14, 2020, who were recommended for appointment to the post of District Judges.

After notifying the list, an anonymous complaint over suppressing the pendency of cases reached the high court, which resolved to terminate the candidature of the petitioner and register a criminal case against him under Section 420 of IPC. Later, a chargesheet was filed against him by the police. The petitioner’s counsel argued that this by no stretch of the imagination can be termed as an offence under Section 420 of the IPC for cheating, as the intention of the petitioner was never to cheat. But, whether it would meet the ingredients of Section 415 of the IPC must be noticed for the petitioner to be prosecuted in a criminal case, he argued.

For this, the court said the term ‘property’ as obtained in Section 415 of IPC, to mean property and nothing else... In the peculiar facts of the case, property would mean, the service that the petitioner would have entered into, as it provides security of tenure which is valuable.

Therefore, the valuable security is akin to property, the judge said. The court also noted that the petitioner is a practising advocate for close to 13 years prior to submitting his application for the post of District Judge. He cannot be compared to an applicant who has applied for a Group-D post who can take shelter that by inadvertence he has not answered the query (in the application) by properly understanding it. The petitioner did not disclose nine cases in which he was either the complainant or the accused, the court added.

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