Mere Fact That A Person Is Made Accused In An FIR Is Not A Disqualification For Appointment To Public Posts: Kerala …

While dealing with a challenge made to the appointment of Part Time Official Receivers under the Insolvency Act, 1955, Kerala High Court has held that the mere fact that a person is made an accused in a crime is not a disqualification by itself. The challenge to the appointment of a person was made primarily on the ground that he was an accused in a crime.

As per the procedure under the Act, selection of Part Time Official Receivers for a district is made by the government on the basis of a panel prepared by the high court in consultation with the district judge concerned. The dispute concerned the appointment in Thiruvananthapuram district. Initially, the district judge had forwarded five names out of 13 applicants. In the previous round of litigation, the high court had held that the short-listing made by the district judge was improper and irregular, and that the names of all 13 applicants should have been forwarded. Hence the matter was directed to be reconsidered again.

In the second panel prepared after the directions of high court, the name of a person who happened to figure in as an accused in an FIR was included. His inclusion was challenged.

Justice Devan Ramachandran, who dealt with the matter, called for the records pertaining to the preparation of panel by the full court. The relevant documents were produced before the court in sealed cover. On a consideration of materials, the judge chose to defer to the wisdom of the full court, and held that the fact that a criminal case was registered against the person was not by itself a disqualification; especially so, when no further steps beyond the registration of crime had taken place over nine years.

“I do not think that it would be necessary or proper for this Court to sit in judgement over the view taken by the Full Court because this view is certainly guided by pragmatism and by forensic prudence. In this country, as is contended by Sri. Santhosh Mathew, it is possible that one can be besieged with litigations of criminal nature by making frivolous complaints. In the case at hand, he refers to the fact that the complaint made against fifth respondent was made as early as in the year 2008 but that nothing more has been done and nothing further has been proceeded on the basis of such complaint even as of now. The mere fact of the pendency of an FIR against a person, in my view, would not be sufficient reason to assert that he is disqualified for being considered for public appointments,” he said.

Read the Judgment Here

Article source: Kerala High Court

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