Allowing a batch of writ petitions filed by candidates who were rejected for the post of police constables because they suppressed facts relating to their involvement in minor criminal cases, the Madras High Court Bench here has said that suppression of facts in minor offences cannot be held as grounds for rejection.

“When the offences cannot be brought under the category of ‘moral turpitude,’ it cannot be advisable to hold that the suppression of those particulars in the application are serious in nature,” Justice R.S. Ramanathan observed and described Sections 323, 324, 506 (i), 506 (ii) and 325 IPC and under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act and the Gaming Act as minor offences.

The petitioners, who had moved the court, were juveniles at the time of committing the offence; were named in the FIR but were not mentioned in the chargesheet; were acquitted from the case in the initial stage on the principle of benefit of doubt and had no cases pending against them during the recruitment.

The advocates appearing for the petitioners, who were juvenile offenders, contended that as per Section 19 of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000, they should not suffer any disqualification. They further claimed that the rejection order was liable to be set aside because they did not have any cases pending against them when they applied for the post.

The government advocate argued that under the provisions of Rule 14(b) of Tamil Nadu Special Police Subordinate Service Rules, though a person was acquitted on the principle of benefit of doubt in a criminal case, he would be considered disqualified for the selection to the police force.

Relying on the judgments of the apex court, Justice Ramanathan said that the impugned rejection orders were liable to be set aside. “The offences are only petty in nature and as held by the Supreme Court those offences cannot be brought under ‘moral turpitude,’” the judge ruled.

“The government has pardoned hardcore criminals and Naxalites and appointed them in the police force. When such persons were appointed in the police force, the petitioners can also be appointed in the police force, considering their age and their age at the time of involvement in the criminal cases and the fact that they were acquitted on the ground that no offence was made against them and they were also honourably acquitted,” the judge added.

However, the judge dismissed the petition of candidates who were acquitted from murder cases. “The petitioners were acquitted in that case, having regard to his involvement in offences under Section 302 IPC. Such persons cannot be considered for appointment as Grade II Police Constables,” the judge held.

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