Employer cannot be compelled to continue employee who at initial stage made false declaration: Supreme Court

Read Time: 07 minutes

The Supreme Court has recently held that an employee cannot claim the appointment and/or continue to be in service as a matter of right who at the time of applying for a post made a false declaration.

A bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna noted, "If the correct facts would have been disclosed, the employer might not have appointed him."

The bench has penned its decision in a plea filed by Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited challenging the order of the Rajasthan High Court confirming the judgment of the Single Judge quashing and set aside the order of termination terminating the services of the employee for suppressing material facts of conviction and penalty at the time of applying for the post of Technical Assistant.

It was noted that the Single Judge granted the benefit of Section 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 to the employee which provides that a person shall not suffer disqualification attaching to the conviction.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the employer submitted, "at the time when the respondent-employee applied for the advertised post, he was already convicted for the offences under Sections 341 and 323 IPC by the competent criminal court which he did not disclose." 

Subsequently, the information was also not given when he submitted the declaration at the time of documents verification and thereafter the services of the respondent were terminated after giving him an opportunity of being heard, Singhvi added.

Singhvi further contended that when the employee initially suppressed the material fact and obtained the appointment fraudulently, thereafter it is a case of trustworthiness, reliability, and credibility of such an employee. It was also contended that if the employee would have disclosed at the relevant time that he is facing the criminal trial and/or he has been convicted, in that case from the very inception, the employer would not have employed him.

Whereas, Advocate Navin Prakash appearing for the employee submitted that the order passed by the Sessions Court granting the benefit under Section 12 of the Act 1958 and considering the fact that the dispute was of a trivial nature with the family members, the learned Single Judge rightly set aside the order of termination which has been rightly confirmed by the Division Bench.

However, the bench noted, "The question is not about whether an employee was involved in a dispute of trivial nature and whether he has been subsequently acquitted or not. The question is about the credibility and/or trustworthiness of such an employee who at the initial stage of the employment, i.e., while submitting the declaration/verification and/or applying for a post made false declaration and/or not disclosing and/or suppressing material fact of having involved in a criminal case."

The bench while quashing and setting aside the impugned orders said, "the learned Division Bench as well as the learned Single Judge have clearly erred in quashing and setting aside the order of termination terminating the services of the respondent on the ground of having obtained an appointment by suppressing material fact and filing a false declaration."

Case Title: Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited and Anr. Vs. Anil Kanwariya