The Delhi high court on Monday said acquittal of a person in a criminal case does not necessarily imply that he is innocent and can be considered for a state government job or be recruited in the police force.
Holding that strict verification of antecedents and character of a job applicant was very essential, the court said a prospective employer should check under what circumstances was the candidate set free in a case: Was it a false case? Was it a case of no evidence? Were witnesses influenced? Was the investigation shoddy?
“Primary consideration should be whether public interest and public good would be jeopardised if a person with a criminal background is inducted into public service. Even if the person has been acquitted, it would not mean the person is of good character. It would mean the prosecution could not muster sufficient and credible evidence to sustain a conviction. In today’s environment where witnesses are suborned and hence turn hostile, one has to be careful,” said the court.
Regarding persons convicted of an offence, the court said only those who have committed crimes involving moral turpitude become ineligible for government job and not those convicted for offences such as speeding, wrong parking, ignoring red light or drunk driving.
The bench of justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice V Kameshwar Rao issued the guidelines while dismissing three appeals filed by the Delhi Police commissioner against a central administrative tribunal order to induct three persons — Mukesh Kumar, Mandeep and Bhawani — as constables. The police had rejected their applications citing their involvement in petty crimes.
The court said in some countries like the US, Canada or Philippines, a psychological test is conducted to ascertain the suitability of candidates commensurate to the nature of job they are being inducted into.
“At times, a polygraph test is conducted to check the deceiving tendencies of candidates. But in India, the moral character and integrity is determined by the archaic method of checking on the police dossiers. No evaluation whatsoever is done pertaining to the emotional maturity, ability to remain calm in emotionally-charged situations or ability to handle difficult situations,” the court said.