Public Service Commission Vs. Koneti Venkateswarulu & Ors  Insc 453 (30 August 2005)
K. Sema & B. N. Srikrishna
out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 22848/2004) SRIKRISHNA, J.
appeal by special leave is brought by the A.P. Public Service Commission to
impugn a judgment of the High Court of Judicature, Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad directing the appellant commission
to give employment to the First Respondent by accommodating him in the next
available vacancy. The facts leading to the present appeal fall within a
limited matrix and they are as follows.
2.7.1999 the appellant commission published an advertisement inviting
applications for filling up various categories of posts including four posts of
Women Child and Welfare Officers by direct recruitment from candidates
belonging to Scheduled Tribes. The application form given out to the
candidates, required by Column 11 and Annexure III, that the candidates should
furnish full information with regard to their appointments in Government /
private sectors, if any. The notification issued by the commission specifically
informed the candidates that giving of any false/ wrong information or
suppression of material information would lead to cancellation of the candidature.
The First Respondent was a candidate for the recruitment as he belongs to
Scheduled Tribe. He filled up the application form, but left Column 11
pertaining to previous employment totally blank. He gave a declaration at the
end of the application which stated:
hereby declare that all statements made in this application are true and
correct and I undertake to produce original documents at any moment of time,
failing which my candidature could be cancelled." He also filled up
Annexure III in which the declaration was as follows:
hereby declare that I am not working in any Government Department/ Quasi
Government/ Public Sector/ Private Sector and that my maximum age does not
exceed 35 years as on 1.7.1999.
further declare that the information furnished by me is true and correct and my
candidature shall be cancelled at any stage if it is found in-correct."
The application of the First Respondent was accepted and he was allowed to take
the written examination. The First Respondent passed the written examination
and was called for interview. He was also selected in the interview. Before the
First Respondent could be notified about the result, the appellant learnt that
the First Respondent was employed and was working as a teacher, and that he had
suppressed this information by deliberately not filling up Column 11. A show
cause notice was issued to the First Respondent calling upon him to show cause
why his candidature should not be cancelled. The First Respondent submitted an
explanation to the show cause notice stating therein inter alia that he
inadvertently filled up and signed Annexure III of the application form, which
was not required to be filled up by him and, therefore, there was no
suppression of material information. Annexure III was intended only for
candidates seeking fee exemption for un-employed youth in the age group of
18-35. This was not applicable to the First Respondent as he belonged to
Scheduled Tribe. The appellant commission cancelled the candidature of the
First Respondent by taking the view that he had deliberately indulged in
suppression of relevant information and that his explanation to the show cause
notice was not satisfactory.
First Respondent moved the A.P. Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad ("the Tribunal") by his
application O.A. No. 7962/2001 challenging the cancellation of his candidature.
The Tribunal heard the parties and by its order dated 18.11.2003 dismissed the O.As.
and upheld the action of the appellant commission in cancellation of the
candidature of the First Respondent. The First Respondent moved the High Court
of Judicature, Andhra Pradesh by a Writ Petition No. 26743/2003 in which he
impugned the judgment and order of the Tribunal. By the impugned judgment the
High Court allowed his writ petition and accepted the explanation of the First
Respondent that he had not misrepresented or suppressed any material
information. Since the selection of the petitioner-first respondent was for the
year 1999 and all posts had been filled up by 7.1.2004, the date on which the
judgment of the High Court was rendered, the High Court directed that the First
Respondent had to be accommodated in the next available vacancy to the post of
Women & Child Welfare Officer reserved for ST candidates. The appellant
commission being aggrieved by the said order is in appeal before this Court.
learned counsel for the appellant drew our attention to the photocopy of the
application dated 24.7.1999 from which it is clearly seen that as against
Column No. 11 the First Respondent has given no information whatsoever, leaving
the column blank by drawing lines. He had put his signature and made
declaration in the application which is earlier reproduced. The First
Respondent also filled up Annexure III and made a declaration therein as reproduced
earlier. Learned counsel for the appellant commission relied on the judgment of
this Court in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and Ors. v. Ram Ratan Yadav and
contended that when information with regard to the antecedents of a candidate
is called for, it is intended to verify and cross-check the information so that
the suitability of the candidate for employment could be judged. If the
candidate indulges in suppresso veri and suggestio falsi, he proves himself
unfit to be employed, all the more so, if he is to be employed in public
employment. If the information as to the full particulars of employment was
available with the commission, the commission could have checked the
antecedents of the First Respondent with his employer and ascertained the suitability
of the First Respondent for employment. In any event, it had been made clear to
the candidates, both in the advertisement calling for applications as well as
in the body of the application itself that furnishing of false information or
its suppression was liable to result in cancellation of the candidature. The
First Respondent, therefore, did not deserve any consideration and the High
Court erred in interfering with the order of the Tribunal.
learned counsel for the First Respondent, however, rejoins that there was no malafide
intention in not giving the full particulars. He reiterated the contentions
urged before the Tribunal and submitted that Column 11 refers to paragraph 3(d)
of the advertisement, which was concerned only with age concession. Since age
concession was being made available to ST candidates under paragraph 3(a),
there was no need for him to fill up the requirements of Column 11 of the
application. He also urged that Annexure III was intended only for candidates
claiming fee exemption;
the First Respondent was not claiming fee concession, the annexure need not
have been filled by him. The fact that it was filled by him wrongly could,
therefore, not lead to any adverse consequences. He, therefore, submits that it
was pure inadvertence on the part of the First Respondent and not malafides,
which lead to the non-disclosure of his employment status.
submission of the learned counsel, this could not be a reason for the
cancellation of the First Respondent's candidature.
unable to accept the contention of the learned counsel for the First
Respondent. As to the purpose for which the information is called, the employer
is the ultimate judge. It is not open to the candidate to sit in judgment about
the relevance of the information called for and decide to supply it or not.
There is no doubt that the application called for full employment particulars
vide Column 11. Similarly, Annexure III contained an express declaration of not
working in any public or private employment.
also unable to accept the contention that it was inadvertence which led the
First Respondent to leave the particulars in Column 11 blank and make the
declaration of non-employment in Annexure III to the application.
application was filled on 24.7.1999, the examination was held on 24.10.1999,
and the interview call was given on 31.1.2000. At no point of time did the
First Respondent inform the appellant commission that there was a bonafide
mistake by him in filling up the application form, or that there was
inadvertence on his part in doing so. It is only when the appellant commission
discovered by itself that there was suppresso veri and suggestio falsi on the
part of the First Respondent in the application that the respondent came
forward with an excuse that it was due to inadvertence.
there has been suppresso veri and suggestio falsi is incontrovertible.
explanation that it was irrelevant or emanated from inadvertence, is
unacceptable. In our view, the appellant was justified in relying upon the
ratio of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (supra) and contending that a person who
indulges in such suppresso veri and suggestio falsi and obtains employment by
false pretence does not deserve any public employment. We completely endorse
result, we allow the appeal and set aside the impugned judgment of the High
Court and restore the judgment of the Tribunal.
that the First Respondent belongs to Scheduled Tribe, we refrain from imposing
costs upon him, with the fond hope that the next time he applies for employment
elsewhere, he will be more careful and forthright.