Criminal antecedents of a candidate; appointment to Poilce-State of M.P & Ors v Parvez Khan

State of M.P & Ors v Parvez Khan

 

To feel safe from the crime is as important to a person as access to food, shelter, education and health. So it is very important for a country to have an efficient, morally upright and service-oriented police force. Indian police has poor public image and citizens repose little faith in the organization. Many persons feel that police in India are rude even brutal, corrupt and is often considered as henchmen of powerful politicians. Cases of police misconduct are so pervasive and well documented that they have become the norm, rather than the exception. Police who are expected to provide security is often feared than criminals. Police atrocities, custodial rapes and torture are of common occurrence in India. Hence reforms are needed in the police force.  One way to change the face of Indian police is to ensure that right persons find their way to police force. A person employed in police service must be worthy of confidence, integrity and impeccable character. In this regard the recent judgement of Supreme Court in State of M.P & Ors v Parvez Khan is well received.

The present case is an appeal to the Supreme Court from a writ petition filed at Madhya Pradesh High Court. The case was decided by a two judge bench consisting of  Adarsh Kumar Goel . J. and T.S Thakur J.  The issue raised in the case is whether the refusal by a competent authority to give compassionate appointment in the police service, on the grounds of criminal antecedents of a candidate who is acquitted for want of evidence or who is discharged from the criminal case on account of compounding can be justified?

 The facts of the above case are as followsSultan Khan died in harness while serving in the Madhya Pradesh Police. His son, the respondent in this case applied for compassionate appointment. His record was sent for police verification. On verification it was found that he was charged in two criminal cases. He was prosecuted for offences under  Sections 323, 324, 325, 294 and 506-B/34 of Indian Penal Code ( herein after referred to as IPC) and in the other under  Section 452, 394 and 395 of the IPC. The Superintendent of Police held that he was not eligible for the appointment. The respondent, Parvez Khan challenged the order by a writ petition in Madhya Pradesh High Court by stating that in the first case he was acquitted on 31 January, 2007 and in the second he was discharged on account of  compounding of offence. There the  writ petition was dismissed by the single bench of the High Courtand On appeal the division bench of the High Court took the view that since the respondents were acquitted in both the criminal cases he should not be considered unsuitable. The case then went on appeal to the apex court.

The counsel for the State argued that since the respondent was involved in  criminal case involving moral turpitude, he could not be given appointment .It was argued that even mere acquittal for want of evidence or discharge on account of comprise could not be taken to be conclusive for suitability of a candidate. In a criminal case the burden of proof is beyond reasonable doubt. The counsel on behalf of State argued that if a person is acquitted or discharged, it does not mean that he was falsely involved and he had no criminal antecedent. All that may be inferred is that he has not been  proved guilty.

 Counsel for respondent, had  relied on Guidelines dated 5th   June,2003 issued by the Madhya Pradesh Government for the character verification of candidates for recruitment to the Government  and hence stated  that such guidelines do not warrant rejection of candidature of the respondent. The respondent also named person s who were given candidature in similar circumstance to his position.

The Court took into consideration the Guidelines issued by Madhya Pradesh Government but came into the conclusion that the Guidelines do not show that acquittal is conclusive.

 The Court also took into consideration the decision of the Court in the case of  Commissioner of Police v Mehar Singh[1]. The question before the Supreme Court in the case was “ whether the candidature of the respondents who had made a clean breast of their involvement in a criminal case by mentioning this fact in their application/attestation form while applying for a post of Constable in Delhi Police, who were provisionally selected subject to verification of their antecedents and who were subsequently acquitted/discharged in the criminal case, could be cancelled by the Screening Committee of the Delhi Police on the ground that they are not found suitable for appointment to the post of Constable.” In that decision, Supreme Court allowed the order of the Selection Committee rejecting the candidature of Mehar Singh and the  Court was of the view that while verifying the character and antecedent of a candidate if the competent authority found that a person acquitted or discharged in a criminal case acquitted not on ‘honorable’ grounds, then the competent authority can reject the candidature. The court agreed with the definition of ‘honorable acquittal’[2] given in the decision S. Samuthiram[3]

The Court also rejected the respondent’s plea of parity with two others. The court quoted the judgement in Mehar case which is given below

“If the Screening Committee which is constituted to carry out the object of the comprehensive policy to ensure that people with doubtful background do not enter the police force, deviates from the policy, makes exception and allows entry of undesirable persons, it is undoubtedly guilty of committing an act of grave disservice to the police force but we cannot allow that illegality to be perpetuated by allowing the respondents to rely on such cases.”

Hence the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and rejected the decision of the division bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.and thus reaffirmed the decision in Mehar Singh case.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that a person who has been charged under cases relating to assault, criminal intimidation, robbery, et all is not fit for a job in the police and besides ,  an acquittal in a criminal case, is  not  a conclusive evidence of innocence of an accused since it could be ordered on the basis of even a benefit of doubt or prosecution’s failure to establish someone’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

The police force is considered to be a disciplined force. It shoulders the great responsibility of maintaining law and order and public order in the society and people repose great faith and confidence in it. It must be worthy of that confidence and a  candidate wishing to join the police force must be a person of utmost rectitude.

An analysis of this judgment will focus on the point that Persons who are likely to erode the credibility of the police ought not to enter our police force.


[1] 2013 (7) SCC 685

[2] when the accused is acquitted after full consideration

of the prosecution case and the prosecution miserably

fails to prove the charges levelled against the accused,

it can possibly be said that the accused was honourably

acquitted.

[3] 2013  (1) SCC 598

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Patenting of Human Genes

Patents are issued for invention and not for discovery. Genes are present within every human. Isolating a gene from a human doesn’t make that an invention. If that’s the case then removing of liver, heart, pancreas could also be considered patentable. On June 13th the US Supreme Court made a judgment quoting that companies could not patent the naturally occurring genes. Myriad Genetics Inc., tried to patent these two well known genes linked to ovarian and breast cancer. A woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer increased if she inherits mutation in either of two tumor-suppressor genes. The court also ruled out that it cannot patent complementary DNA or cDNA.

Both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are found within every person, which means that it has not been invented by anyone and could not be classified as something which comes under patentable subject matter. But Myraid argued that they developed the technology to isolate the genes so they can patent them. The work Myraid done was it sorted all of the 20,000 genes and found two genes which are linked to ovarian and breast cancer. Myriad was arguing that they isolated the 2 genes after many complicated procedures which were not known to the world before. The Supreme Court ruled out Myriad’s claim telling that isolation of naturally occurring genes is not considered patentable. The decision came as a victory to cancer patients, researches that are of the opinion that if it was granted then it would have increased the research cost and cost of many cancer drugs.

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