Service matter - Removal from service after 13 years stating that Form I was wrongly filled suppressing criminal case = since the first respondent was acquitted in the criminal proceedings and he has appreciable long-standing service with awards and rewards, the Tribunal rightly appreciated the issue and allowed the O.A.No.10513 of 2009 by setting aside the proceedings dated 07.08.2009, whereby the first respondent was removed from service.= The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Warangal, and another. P. Sadaiah and another.= published in http://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/qrydispfree.aspx?filename=6941

Service matter - Removal from service after 13 years stating that Form I was wrongly filled suppressing criminal case =  since the first respondent was acquitted in the criminal proceedings and he has appreciable long-standing
service with awards and rewards, the Tribunal rightly appreciated the issue and
allowed the O.A.No.10513 of 2009 by setting aside the proceedings dated
07.08.2009, whereby the first respondent was removed from service.=

In the explanation of the first respondent dated 28.11.2008 submitted to the
disciplinary authority, he stated that by that time he has completed thirteen
years service and that on recognition of his good work turned out in the anti-
extremist field, the authorities awarded him 38 GSEs, 42 Cash Rewards and 12
commendations/appreciations.  

From a perusal of the above facts and circumstances of the case, cited case law
and material on record, we are of the view that since the first respondent was
acquitted in the criminal proceedings and he has appreciable long-standing
service with awards and rewards, the Tribunal rightly appreciated the issue and
allowed the O.A.No.10513 of 2009 by setting aside the proceedings dated
07.08.2009, whereby the first respondent was removed from service.

We may notice column No.12, which is as 
follows: "Have you ever been arrested by the Police, convicted by Court or
detained of any offence."

23.     In our considered opinion, the language employed in column No.12 is
somewhat vague and indefinite. It appears to us that arrest by the police unless
resulted in conviction is of no consequence.
 Precisely for the said reason, the
petitioner stated 'no' since he has not been convicted by any criminal court."

"It is also contended that removal from service is bad and disproportionate,
that too, after the applicant worked for 9 years by the time of charge sheet
without any remark and imposing a penalty of removal after 14 years is
disproportionate.  
The Hon'ble Supreme Court in a case between State of Madhya
Pradesh v. Hazarilal, AIR 2008 SC 1300 considered the case of proportionality of
the punishment and has held that the penalty imposed shall be proportionate to
the misconduct.  
In that case, the delinquent official was found guilty for
offence under Section 324 IPC by the Criminal Court and by dispensing with the
enquiry, the order of dismissal was passed.  
Their Lordships held that the
punishment was disproportionate to the misconduct and fine was the proper one.
Therefore, removing a Sub Inspector of Police after rendering 14 years of
unblemished service on an allegation mistake committed by him in the attestation
form by not disclosing about his involvement in the criminal case and arrest,
which themselves are doubtful (as his name does not find place in the CD or FIR)
is surely disproportionate to the alleged misconduct. 
On that ground itself, the
penalty of removal is liable to be interfered.  A censure would have been an
appropriate penalty, if for any reason he is found guilty of alleged
misconduct." 

Accordingly, the Writ Petition is dismissed. However, the petitioners are given
three weeks time from today for compliance with the orders of the Tribunal in
O.A.No.10513 of 2009 dated 20.01.2010.  No costs. 

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE GHULAM MOHAMMED AND THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE G. BHAVANI                  
Writ Petition No.3224 of 2010

17-03-2010

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Warangal, and another.

P. Sadaiah and another.

Counsel for the Petitioners: Government Pleader for Services - I

Counsel for Respondent No.1:  Sri M. Ratna Reddy
Counsel for Respondent No.2: --

:ORDER: (Per GMJ)  

In this Writ Petition, the State Officials seeks to assail the order dated
21.01.2010 passed by the Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad, 
allowing the O.A.No.10513 of 2009, which was filed by the first respondent
herein seeking to set aside the proceedings dated 07.08.2009, whereby the first
respondent was removed from service; and consequently to quash the above order 
of the Tribunal.

The case of the petitioners is that the first respondent, while furnishing the
attestation Form-I on 09.11.1994 regarding his selection as Police Constable,
willfully suppressed the information regarding his involvement in the criminal
proceedings. 
Thereafter, he was selected as Police Constable in 1995 and was
promoted as Sub Inspector of Police. 
Therefore, the first respondent was served
with charge memo dated 06.12.2004.  
Though the inquiry officer, after regular
inquiry, found him not guilty, disagreeing with the same, the disciplinary
authority sent a dissenting note to the first respondent calling for his
representation.
The disciplinary authority, considering records, findings of
the inquiry officer and the representation, found the first respondent guilty of
the charge and awarded punishment of removal from service vide proceedings dated
07.08.2009.  
It is stated that the Tribunal erred in holding that there was
delay in initiating disciplinary proceedings against him since as soon as the
information has come to the notice of the competent authority, action was
initiated, that the suppression of involvement in criminal case was willful and
that the punishment was not excessive.  Therefore, the petitioners seek to quash
the order dated 20.01.2010 passed in O.A.No.10513 of 2009.

The case of the first respondent is that he was appointed as a Police Constable
in Karimnagar District in 1995 and while undergoing training, he was selected as
Sub-Inspector of Police on 17.08.1995 and has been discharging duties as such.
While so, he was subjected to departmental disciplinary inquiry in pursuance of
the charge memo dated 06.12.2004 on the alleged misconduct of suppression of the
fact of his involvement in Crime No.175 of 1994 on the file of the Godavarikhani
I Police Station for the offence punishable punishable under Section 24 read
with 34 I.P.C. The crime was registered based on a complaint given by one
Anjaneyulu against the school management of Abhinava Vidyalaya, where the first
respondent used to work as a Private Teacher, including the first respondent,
regarding a compound wall of the complainant abutting the school. Charge sheet
was filed in C.C.No.34 of 2000 on the file of the Court of the Judicial
Magistrate of First Class, Manthani, and by judgment dated 20.07.2000, the first
respondent was acquitted.  Therefore, the inquiry officer, after conducting
inquiry as per Rule 20 of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Services (Classification,
Control and Appeal) Rules, 1991 ('1991 Rules' for short), found the first
respondent not guilty, by a reasoned order.  The disciplinary authority - D.I.G.
of Police, Warangal, disagreeing with the inquiry report issued a dissent note
and communicated the same to the first respondent. Assailing the same, he filed
O.A.No.9506 of 2009, during pendency of which he was served with proceedings
dated 07.08.2009 issued by the disciplinary authority finding him guilty of
misconduct and removing him from service. Aggrieved by the same, he filed
O.A.No.10513 of 2009 and the Tribunal rightly set aside the proceedings dated
07.08.2009.

The learned Government Pleader for Services - I appearing for the petitioners
submits that the act of the first respondent suppressing the requisite
information regarding his involvement in criminal proceedings, at the time of
filling the attestation form, was erroneous; that the punishment of removal from
service as imposed is not excessive and that the Tribunal erred in setting aside
proceedings dated 07.08.2009.
In support of this contention, he has drawn our
attention to the judgment of the Apex Court in R. Radhakrishnan vs. Director
General of Police1, wherein it was held as under:
"10. Indisputably, Appellant intended to obtain appointment in a uniformed
service. The standard expected of a person intended to serve in such a service
is different from the one of a person who intended to serve other services.
Application for appointment and the verification roll were both in Hindi as also
in English. He, therefore, knew and understood the implication of his statement
or omission to disclose a vital information. The fact that in the event such a
disclosure had been made, the authority could have verified his character as
also suitability of the appointment is not in dispute. It is also not in dispute
that the persons who had not made such disclosures and were, thus, similarly
situated had not been appointed.
3.      Pursuant to or in furtherance of an advertisement dated 29.12.1999 having
been issued in that behalf, the appellant filed an application for appointment
to the post of Fireman on 05.01.2000. He was provisionally selected whereafter
he submitted a verification roll, the relevant part whereof reads as under:
I realize that if I am enlisted and my statement which has been made by me is
found to be false, I shall render myself liable to be dismissed for obtaining
service under false pretences.

15. Have you ever been concerned in
any criminal case as accused?                No

16. Have you ever been arrested or
convicted and sentenced to undergo 
imprisonment or pay a fine in any
criminal or other offence? If so,                    No
give details with C.C. No. and Court.

18. Are there any civil or criminal cases
pending against you? If so, details.         No
4. It now stands admitted that he, however, was involved in an incident which
occurred on 15.04.2000, and was proceeded against under Section 294(b) of the
Indian Penal Code. He was arrested but was released on bail. He, however, was
acquitted of the said charge on 25.09.2000. Inter alia on the premise that he
had made false statement in his verification roll, in regard to the pendency of
the aforementioned case, he was not selected.

5. He filed an original application before the Tamil Nadu Administrative
Tribunal. The learned Tribunal by reason of a judgment and order dated 4.03.2002
opined that as he ad been acquitted in the criminal case, there did not exist
any reason as to why he should be denied an appointment to the post of Fireman.
A writ petition preferred there against by the respondent herein was allowed by
reason of the impugned judgment. 

13. In the instant case, indisputably, the appellant had suppressed a material
fact.  In a case of this nature, we are of the opinion that question of
exercising an equitable jurisdiction in his favour would not arise."

Learned Government Pleader further drawn our attention to an unreported judgment
of this Court, to which I (GMJ) was member, in Director General & Inspector
General of Police vs. Patchala Srinivasa Rao2, wherein this Court held that the
Apex Court in Union of India vs. Bipad Bhankan Gayen3 clearly and categorically
held that when the petitioner though discharged subsequently in the criminal
case, it will not in any way absolve him of his liability to have filled in the
attestation form correctly and accurately as on the date he had done so.
Therefore, a person, who wants to join in service, must indicate about his
involvement in a criminal case and arrest while submitting the application.
Sri M. Ratna Reddy, learned counsel for the first respondent, vehemently submits
that the judgment of the Tribunal does not suffer from any error since the first
respondent has unblemished service record and since the inquiry proceedings were
initiated after nine years and the punishment was imposed after fourteen years
from the date of the first respondent joining in the service.  In support of his
contention, he relied on judgment of this Court in A. Sagar vs. State Level
Police Recruitment Board, Hyd4, wherein it was held as under:

"20.    It is true that the column No.16 of the application form requires the
applicant to furnish information about his involvement in any criminal case and
arrest by the police. The applicant is required to furnish full details, such as
FIR number and name of the police station. So far as column No.17 of the
application form is concerned the applicant is required to furnish the
information as to whether he has been prosecuted or convicted by a court of law
in the past or facing trial in any case at the relevant time. The applicant is
required to furnish full details such as name of the court and conviction
particulars etc. So far as the petitioner is concerned as against column Nos.16
and 17 nothing is stated by him. Both the columns are left blank. The petitioner
signed the application form on 8-9-2001. It is required to notice that by that
time the petitioner has been acquitted of all the criminal cases registered
against him for the offence punishable under Section 379 of the Indian Penal
Code and the acquittal is on merits. It is true that nothing prevented the
petitioner herein to furnish the details of the cases in which he was involved
and which subsequently ended in acquittal. The petitioner by inadvertence did
not divulge the requisite information and the same, in our considered opinion in
the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, may not amount to willful
suppression or concealment of facts. The fact remains that the cases registered
against the petitioner ended in acquittal 1-1/2 years prior to the notification
issued by the respondents. The petitioner is admittedly not involved in any
criminal case whatsoever after disposal of those criminal cases referred to
hereinabove registered against him.

21.        Yet another important aspect of the matter that is required to be
noticed is that the petitioner perhaps having realised the indiscretion
committed by him in refusing to divulge the requisite information in the
application form voluntarily stated about his involvement and arrest by the
police in connection with the criminal cases registered against him before the
authority who came to verify his antecedents. The authority accordingly
submitted a complete and comprehensive report about the petitioner's involvement
in the criminal cases and his acquittal by the court of competent criminal
jurisdiction and the same was available with all the respondents herein. It is
only thereafter the respondents have deputed the petitioner herein to undergo
training with the third respondent. It means, the respondents were fully aware
of the registration of some criminal cases against the petitioner and their
ending in acquittal. The respondents perhaps having impressed by the fact that
the criminal cases registered against the petitioner were ended in acquittal on
merits thought it fit to depute the petitioner to undergo the training since he
possesses all the requisite qualifications and satisfies eligibility criteria
for being selected and appointed as Police Constable. In our considered opinion,
the same now cannot be put against the petitioner for deleting his name even
from the select list.

22.        So far as the attestation form is concerned, the petitioner as
against column No.12 stated 'no'. 
We may notice column No.12, which is as 
follows: "Have you ever been arrested by the Police, convicted by Court or
detained of any offence."

23.     In our considered opinion, the language employed in column No.12 is
somewhat vague and indefinite. It appears to us that arrest by the police unless
resulted in conviction is of no consequence.
 Precisely for the said reason, the
petitioner stated 'no' since he has not been convicted by any criminal court."


Learned counsel for the first respondent further contended that since, according
to the 1991 Rules, there is no misconduct on the part of the first respondent,
the Tribunal committed no error warranting interference by this Court.
He relied
on observations of the inquiry officer's report dated 27.03.2008, which reads as
under:

"The charged officer also describing the above episode has stated that while
filling the Attestation Form he has not understood the Column. No.12 of the form
and he copied the reply from his friends form.  
The E-1 Sr.Asst.Range Office,
Warangal has stated during the cross examination that there is such scope while
filling the Attestation Form by the SI recruit candidate. 
 He also stated that
some candidates may not have full knowledge of understanding all the columns of
the attestation form and they may copy from their friend candidates. 
 The
charged officer contended that the same thing has happened while filling up his
attestation form.  
He copied the reply of Column No.12 from the form of his
friend candidate. 
 He says that it is not his intentional act.  
Some how minute
study of the case, it is observed that the explanation of the charge officer is
convincing to lend support to rebut the allegation of concealing the information
of involvement in a criminal case wantonly.

From the evidence of P.Ws., it is crystal clear that the petitioner Gangadhara
Anjaneyulu is a petition-monger, litigant fellow, is in the habit of filing
false complaints against innocent people of his locality, implicating them in
criminal cases with the help of local police and later on calling them for
compromise and knocking huge amounts on the name of compromise form innocent     
people.  
As per enquiry reports submitted by the then SDPOs it was ironically
proved that the said Gangadhara Anjaneyulu cheated a lady by name Radhamma, a    
widow, demanded and collected huge amounts from her.  
Further, he is proved to
be desperate character and in the habit of enjoyment the ladies by
impersonation.  In furtherance of his questionable character, he developed
illegal intimacy with the aforesaid women Radhamma and cheated her by imposing  
himself as AINTUC leader."


The Tribunal, after considering the facts and circumstances of the case and
after going through various judgments of Apex Court and this Court, observed as
under:

"It is also contended that removal from service is bad and disproportionate,
that too, after the applicant worked for 9 years by the time of charge sheet
without any remark and imposing a penalty of removal after 14 years is
disproportionate.
The Hon'ble Supreme Court in a case between State of Madhya
Pradesh v. Hazarilal, AIR 2008 SC 1300 considered the case of proportionality of
the punishment and has held that the penalty imposed shall be proportionate to
the misconduct.  
In that case, the delinquent official was found guilty for
offence under Section 324 IPC by the Criminal Court and by dispensing with the
enquiry, the order of dismissal was passed.  
Their Lordships held that the
punishment was disproportionate to the misconduct and fine was the proper one.
Therefore, removing a Sub Inspector of Police after rendering 14 years of
unblemished service on an allegation mistake committed by him in the attestation
form by not disclosing about his involvement in the criminal case and arrest,
which themselves are doubtful (as his name does not find place in the CD or FIR)
is surely disproportionate to the alleged misconduct. 
On that ground itself, the
penalty of removal is liable to be interfered.  A censure would have been an
appropriate penalty, if for any reason he is found guilty of alleged
misconduct." 


In the explanation of the first respondent dated 28.11.2008 submitted to the
disciplinary authority, he stated that by that time he has completed thirteen
years service and that on recognition of his good work turned out in the anti-
extremist field, the authorities awarded him 38 GSEs, 42 Cash Rewards and 12
commendations/appreciations.  

From a perusal of the above facts and circumstances of the case, cited case law
and material on record, we are of the view that since the first respondent was
acquitted in the criminal proceedings and he has appreciable long-standing
service with awards and rewards, the Tribunal rightly appreciated the issue and
allowed the O.A.No.10513 of 2009 by setting aside the proceedings dated
07.08.2009, whereby the first respondent was removed from service.

Accordingly, the Writ Petition is dismissed. However, the petitioners are given
three weeks time from today for compliance with the orders of the Tribunal in
O.A.No.10513 of 2009 dated 20.01.2010.  No costs. 

?1 (2008) 1 SCC 660
2 W.P.No.5813 of 2005 dated 10.07.2009
3 2008 AIR SCW 4058  
4 2003(1) ALD 380 (DB)

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