Anil Bharadwaj Vs. Hon’ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

Case Number: Civil Appeal No(s). 3419 of 2020 arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 10255 of 2020

Judges Name: Hon’ble Judges Ashok Bhushan J & M.R. Shah J

Order dated: 13.10.2020

Facts of the Case:

  • The High Court of Madhya Pradesh issued an advertisement dated 09.03.2017 inviting applications for recruitment in the post of District Judge (Entry Level) in the cadre of Higher Judicial Service by Direct Recruitment from amongst the eligible Advocates. In pursuance to the advertisement, the appellant submitted online application form. The appellant after being declared successful in the Main Examination was called for interview.
  • The provisional select and waiting list was published in which the name of the appellant was included at Serial No.13 in the category of unreserved. The appellant received a communication on 06.04.2018 from the Law and Legislative Department informing that he has been selected for the post of District Judge (Entry Level).
  • The appellant was denied appointment owing to a criminal case pending against him filed by his wife. The case was filed under section 498A and 406 of Indian penal Code. On the basis of a complaint by the wife of the appellant, a criminal case was registered and vide judgment dated 18.09.2019 the appellant was acquitted of the charge framed against him.
  • The appellant filed an appeal before the High Court challenging the order for reconsideration of his appointment but the same got dismissed.

Supreme Court held:

  • The Supreme court referred the judgment in Union Territory, Chandigarh Administration and others vs. Pradeep Kumar and another, (2018) 1 SCC 797 and held that acquittal in a criminal case does not automatically ensure appellant’s appointment to a post. The Hon’ble Court further observed that the decision of the Screening Committee must be held final unless it is arbitrary or vitiated by mala fide intention. Any such vitiation can be challenged in constitutional courts exercising Judicial Review.
  • The Hon’ble Court concluded that the decision of Appointment Committee for holding the appellant unsuitable for post of District Judge was based on relevant considerations and could not be considered as mala fide or arbitrary. Hence appellant’s acquittal in a criminal case did not furnish sufficient ground for reconsidering his appointment.
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