The Supreme Court of India on 06/10/2021 observed that if a person is acquitted of an offence because he was given benefit of doubt or because of witness turning hostile it would not entitle him for employment especially in disciplinary force like police & CISF. This observation was made by the court in the case of Union of India Vs Methu Meda.

In this case bench of SC consisted of Indira Banerjee and Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari. This observation by SC came in case where central government had filed an appeal against MP High Court decision. MP HC had earlier ordered the government to send a man to training who had been selected for CISF.

A case against the man had been filed for the offence of kidnapping and demand for ransom in 2009. The session court had acquitted him because of witnesses turned hostile. The hostile witness was also the complainant and he himself was kidnapped. The accused after acquittal applied for selection in CISF. He was selected and an offer of appointment was issued to him subject to some conditions. One of the conditions was to furnish character certificate and antecedent certificate which were to be obtained from local police station in area of his resident. The man in his attestation form had specified that he was charged in a criminal case but was later acquitted by a competent court. Due to this information in his attestation form, he was denied joining and training and the standing committee said the man was not eligible for selection.

Then the man went to High Court of MP which directed the government to send him for training. Then the government appealed further this in SC. The government in SC argues mere acquittal by court is not sufficient as the condition in form was to be “honourably acquitted” and the mad had only disclosed the fact of criminal case in attestation form which is not sufficient.

The SC observed there is nowhere to be found definition of honourable acquittal or fully acquitted in CrPC or in IPC but it has been developed through judicial pronouncement.

The bench by placing reliance on a catena of judgments observed that non examination of a witness is not an honourable acquittal it is only giving the accused benefit of doubt. In the case of New Delhi and ors. Vs Mehar singh had observed that nature of acquittal is very important and it is of core consideration because a person of utmost rectitude and who is of impeccable character & integrity should be selected for government service.

The SC further explained that if an acquittal is given after consideration of material evidence and facts by finding the accused was falsely accused or the guilt was not proved and the court accepts the explanation given by the accused then only it will be treated as “honourable acquittal”.

These all principle was applied by the Supreme Court of India while setting aside the HC judgment.

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