CHENNAI: Holding that even honourable acquittal in a criminal case would not absolve a person from the stigma, the Madras High Court has upheld the rejection of the candidature of an aspirant to the post of police constable.
"In recent times, the police department is already under severe criticism and if the person like the petitioner is selected as a constable without reference to his character, antecedents and criminal case, there is every possibility of one more incident like that of Sathankulam in Tuticorin district, where an inspector and his team were alleged to be the root cause for the custodial death of a father and son during the lockdown," Justice S Vaidyanathan said.
The judge was dismissing a writ petition from A Praveen Kumar seeking to quash an order dated March 23 this year of the Villupuram district Police Superintendent rejecting his candidature to the post of Grade-II Police Constable. He sought a direction from the court to the TN Uniform Services Recruitment Board to appoint him to the post.
The judge noted that the petitioner had admittedly been involved in a criminal case and booked under various serious offences of the IPC. Hence, he cannot casually ask for a suitable appointment in the police department, which is otherwise known as a disciplined force. Though the petitioner stated that he was acquitted honourably, a reading of the judgment of the Judicial Magistrate-I in Villupuram was very clear that he was released on the ground of benefit of doubt.
Therefore, Rule 14(2) in Sub-Rule (b)(iv) and Explanation (1) & (2) of the Special Rules for Tamil Nadu Special Police Subordinate Service Rules, 1978, would come into play against the petitioner, as rightly stated in the impugned order, the judge said.
In this connection, the judge cited the judgment of a Full Bench of the High Court, which as early as in 2008 had considered the scope of Rule 14(b) of the 1978 Rules in the light of Explanation 1 to Clause (iv) of Rule 14(b) and held that a person acquitted on benefit of doubt or discharged in a criminal case, can still be considered as disqualified for selection to the police service and the failure of a person to disclose in the application form, either of his involvement in a criminal case or pendency of the same against him, would entitle the appointing authority to reject his application on the ground of concealment of material facts, irrespective of the ultimate outcome of the criminal case.
Applying the same yardstick, the judge dismissed the petition as devoid of merits and held that the petitioner is not entitled to any relief.