Stressing upon “impeccable character and integrity” of applicants for police jobs, the Supreme Court said a person who was accused of criminal conduct but succeeded in getting judicial reprieve could not don the uniform even after being acquitted of charges.
Holding that a candidate wishing to join police “must be a person of utmost rectitude” and “must have impeccable character and integrity”, the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said: “A person having criminal antecedents will not fit in this category.”
“Even if he is acquitted or discharged in the criminal case, that acquittal or discharge order will have to be examined to see whether he has been completely exonerated in the case because even a possibility of his taking to the life of crimes poses a threat to the discipline of the police force,” Justice Desai said.
Having held that people involved in grave cases of moral turpitude be kept out of police even if they were acquitted or discharged, the judgment, delivered recently, said: “Instances of police personnel behaving in a wayward manner by misusing power are in public domain and are a matter of concern. The reputation of the police force has taken a beating.”
“We would not like to dilute the importance and efficacy of a mechanism like the screening committee created by Delhi Police to ensure that persons who are likely to erode its credibility do not enter the force,” the judges said.
The apex court said this while setting aside a Delhi High Court order rejecting Delhi Police plea challenging the Central Administrative Tribunal decision. The high court order was challenged by the Delhi Police commissioner.
The tribunal March 7, 2012, overturned the decision of the screening committee not to recommend the names of two candidates – Mehar Singh and Shani Kumar – for appointment as constable in Delhi Police.
Initially, both Mehar Singh and Shani Kumar were provisionally selected after succeeding in physical endurance and measurement test and written test. But during verification they were both dropped from the list.
Discussing Mehar Singh case, the apex court said he was accused, along with others, of breaking the side window panes of a bus by throwing stones and by giving blows with canes May 15, 2004. They were allegedly enraged with the conductor for asking them to buy tickets for travel.
The matter was later settled out of court and Mehar Singh, along with others, was acquitted of penal charges of punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, punishment for wrongful restraint and mischief causing damage.