The Apex Court, while allowing the appeal, made an observation that an employee who made false declarations or suppressed material facts, like his involvement in a criminal case, should not be entitled to continue in service or be appointed as a matter of right.

In the instant case, the employee had been employed by the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited. At the time of employment, he had submitted a declaration during document verification wherein he admitted that neither any criminal case had been pending against him, nor had he been convicted by any court of law in a criminal case.

Later, upon scrutiny, it had been found that he had been convicted in a criminal case and consequently had been terminated.

Aggrieved by the termination order, the employee approached the High Court and challenged the order. The High Court relied upon the verdict given in the Avtar Singh Case [(2016) 8 SCC 471], quashed the termination order, and directed the reinstatement of employee along with consequential benefits.

Thereafter, the employer approached the apex court where the employee-respondent contended that he had been extended the benefit provided under Section 12 of the Act, 1958 wherein a person is immune from disqualification owing to his conviction.

The bench rejected the contention on the ground that the immunity could not be enjoyed in cases of false declaration which had been made by the employee-respondent. The bench further explained that even in case of acquittal, the person could not claim an appointment, as a matter of right, which he lost due to false declaration or concealment of facts.

Moreover, it had been observed that the issue did not involve question of employee’s involvement in a dispute or whether he had been acquitted, rather, it revolves around the creditworthiness/credibility of employee.

The employee by making false declaration, lost the trust of employer as he could not be trusted upon in future. The continuation of employees’ service is an option reserved in the hands of employer, explained the supreme court.

The bench therefore, allowed the appeal preferred by the employer.

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