Case Title: Shiv Kumar Mishra v. State of U.P. and Others
Case No: Writ – A No. 13121 of 2023
Decided on: 9th January, 2024
CORAM: THE HON’BLE MR. SAURABH SHYAM SHAMSHERY
Facts of the Case
The petitioner assumed the role of an Assistant Teacher at Primary School Harnahi Chakarwa Bahordas, District Deoria, in 2005. Subsequently, in 2008, the petitioner was promoted to the position of Headmaster. In 2015, an inquiry was launched following a complaint asserting that the petitioner’s appointment had been made on the basis of falsified educational documents.
The District Basic Education Officer’s office in Deoria meticulously examined the documents and found no discrepancies. Subsequently, the documents were sent for additional verification.
The petitioner’s legal representative contended that despite the absence of any ambiguity in the documents, an investigation ensued, leading to the filing of an FIR against the petitioner in 2022. The argument emphasized that although the chargesheet was provided to the petitioner, the documents forming the basis for framing the charges were not supplied to him. Furthermore, the contention was put forth that the cancellation of the petitioner’s appointment was in violation of the principles of natural justice, as the order was issued without furnishing him with a copy of the inquiry report. This, it was asserted, warranted setting aside the decision.
On the contrary, the legal representative for the respondents argued that despite numerous notices sent to the petitioner, no responses were received to the specific queries raised. Consequently, the inquiry continued, and the charges were substantiated based on the police report.
According to Rule 9(4) of the U.P. Government Servant (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999, if any penalty outlined in Rule 3 is intended to be enforced, the government servant must be furnished with a copy of both the inquiry report and the Disciplinary Authority’s conclusions.
Whether the petitioner, who has procured an appointment as a Teacher based on forged educational documents, can be entitled to any sympathy?
Court’s analysis and decision
The Allahabad High Court has affirmed the annulment of the appointment of a primary school teacher due to the use of fraudulent documents. Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery, presiding over the bench, remarked that “a person such as a petitioner, who has procured appointment as Teacher on basis of forged educational documents, cannot be entitled to any sympathy and he is required to be dealt with strictly.”
The court affirmed that “It is well settled that fraud vitiates all solemn acts. Petitioner has not submitted any document which could contradict the findings returned by Inquiry Officer as well as by disciplinary authority that forged educational documents were provided by petitioner at the time of his appointment.” Consequently, the court concluded that the failure to serve the inquiry report was a mere irregularity and not an illegal act that resulted in any harm or injustice to the petitioner.
The court noted that the situation did not constitute double jeopardy since the District Basic Education Officer’s report from Deoria, affirming the authenticity of the documents, was not conclusive. This is because the District Basic Education Officer in Deoria had forwarded the documents for additional verification. Consequently, the court concluded that the petitioner had no grounds to assert a claim of double jeopardy.
The court noted that the petitioner’s response lacked specificity and failed to address the specific queries outlined in both the chargesheet and the notices served. Simultaneously, the court also remarked that the process outlined in Rule 9(4) of the U.P. Government Servant (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1999, was not adhered to.
The court referenced the cases of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited and another vs. Anil Kanwariya (2021) and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. vs. Rajendra D. Harmalkar (2022), where the Supreme Court emphasized that the issue of trust becomes significant if an employee secured the job through the submission of forged documents. In such instances, the dismissal penalty was upheld.
The court further noted that throughout the proceedings, including the writ petition stage, the petitioner did not present any document to challenge the findings of the Inquiry Officer and the Disciplinary Authority, which established that the petitioner obtained the appointment using fraudulent documents. Consequently, the court ruled that the petitioner failed to demonstrate any harm caused by the non-supply of the inquiry report.
As a result, the writ petition was rejected.
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Written by- Afshan Ahmad