Persons of impeccable "character and integrity" should be recruited to police service, the Supreme Court has said while upholding the screening panel's decision to reject the job applications of five persons having criminal past.
The five persons, who had criminal antecedents, had applied for the post of constables in Chandigarh police force and their pleas were trashed by the Screening Committee.
Later, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) set aside the decision of the Screening Committee and the verdict was endorsed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The High Court gave the relief to aspiring constables and directed the authorities to consider their candidature.
Setting aside the High Court verdict, a bench of Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit said, "It is clear that a candidate to be recruited to police service must be of impeccable character and integrity. A person having criminal antecedents will not fit in this category."
"Even if he is acquitted or discharged, it cannot be presumed that he was honourably acquitted/completely exonerated. The decision of the Screening Committee must be taken as final unless it is shown to be mala fide. The Screening Committee also must be alive to the importance of the trust reposed in it and must examine the candidate with utmost character," the bench said.
The top court, in its verdicts, referred to its findings in two similar cases and said the purpose of screening the aspirants is to ensure that only persons with impeccable character enter the police force and "the court cannot substitute its views for the decision of the Screening Committee. "
The aspirants had in March 2010 applied for the post of constables in Chandigarh Police and had duly disclosed their involvement in criminal cases.
They had been prosecuted in a criminal trial for offences under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506(criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
The Screening Committee, headed by senior superintendent of police, had rejected their applications while holding them ineligible for getting recruited in the police force as they had criminal antecedents.
This decision was set aside by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in 2012 after which the UT approached the high court. The HC had upheld the CAT's decision and dismissed their appeal.
The matter then came up before the Supreme Court, which allowed the appeal and set aside the high court and CAT order, saying there was nothing to suggest that the decision of the Screening Committee was mala fide.
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