Monday, 30th October 2017

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Double standards in govt job appointments

SC needs to examine each case, even if applicant was convicted as a minor

  • Published 10.12.19, 12:31 AM
  • Updated 10.12.19, 12:31 AM
  • a min read
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The court dismissed the Centre’s appeal against the Rajasthan High Court’s order to appoint a sub-inspector in the Central Industrial Security Force (iStock)

The past need not always haunt the present. The Supreme Court ruled recently that no one can be denied a government job on the basis of a conviction or charge he faced as a minor. This is important in the context of the court’s strict bar against the recruitment in government jobs of those who are facing charges as adults and have not been acquitted at the time of appointment. In 2011, for example, the Supreme Court quashed the high court’s instruction to the government of West Bengal to continue with the appointment of a constable who had been found to be facing charges under the Indian Penal Code. In contrast, offences for which a minor has already been penalized, or just been charged with, would be considered erased. The laws of juvenile justice aim to correct the juvenile offender and turn him into a responsible citizen. This is a truly worthy principle, based on a distinction that makes juvenile justice laws meaningful. The court dismissed the Centre’s appeal against the Rajasthan High Court’s order to appoint a sub-inspector in the Central Industrial Security Force. The government had refused him appointment in spite of his having met all the requirements because a first information report for ‘teasing’ a girl had been lodged against him when he was a minor, but he had been acquitted. The court also mentioned that the candidate had made full disclosure so he could not even be faulted for suppression of facts.

Progressive as the court’s decision is, it may be necessary to examine each such case individually. Young people below 18, even below 16, commit some of the most hideous crimes nowadays, and they may not be tried as adults. It will take the wisdom of the courts to decide whether they can join ‘normal’ life and take up a government job once they have been released from the correction home. But beyond the establishment of a principle in the case of the CISF applicant lies a deep irony. It is funny, to say the least, when the Centre refuses to appoint a sub-inspector on the basis of an FIR lodged when he was a minor while Parliament is overflowing with legislators wearing serious criminal charges on their sleeves. Virtue finds strange outlets: the more helpless the better.

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