Acquittal in offence as young person – is it disqualification for Government...

Acquittal in offence as young person – is it disqualification for Government job?

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Question: I have been offered a job in Government of Gujarat for the post of a lower division clerk on the basis of selection on merit. I am 24 years of age. About 10 years back, I was involved in a case of Section 324 IPC but was acquitted in the case. Will such involvement in the criminal case in which I was acquitted, would come in the way of my getting the above Government job? Should I mention this form in the police verification attestation form at the time of joining this job? I am worried since I am in need of employment in order to help my family.

Answer: Such acquittal from a criminal case at a time when you were only 14 years of age, should not come in the way of your employment under a State Government.

When you were involved in the case under Section 324 IPC, at that time, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, was in force [at present, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, is in existence], and Section 19 of the said Act provided as under:

19. Removal of disqualification attaching to conviction.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, a juvenile who has committed an offence and has been dealt with under the provisions of this Act shall not suffer disqualification, if any, attaching to a conviction of an offence under such law.

(2) The Board shall make an order directing that the relevant records of such conviction shall be removed after the expiry of the period of appeal or a reasonable period as prescribed under the rules, as the case may be.”

It can be seen from the above legal provision that even a conviction of an offence against a juvenile (i.e., a person who had not completed 18 years of age, as per the definition under the above old Act) would not act as a disqualification attaching to such conviction. Moreover, it was mandatory on the part of the Juvenile Justice Board to direct removal of records of conviction of such juvenile.

In your case, you have stated that you were acquitted of the offence under Section 324 IPC and at that time your age was about 14 years, i.e., you were a juvenile. Therefore, such acquittal should not act as a disqualification against you and it should not come in your way of getting a Government job.

In this regard, it is pertinent to point out that in the case of Commr. of Police v. Sandeep Kumar, (2011) 4 SCC 644, the respondent Sandeep Kumar’s candidature for the post of Head Constable had been cancelled on ground that he had concealed his involvement in a criminal case under Sections 325/34 IPC when he was aged about 20 years. In these circumstances, the Supreme Court held as under:

“We respectfully agree with the Delhi High Court that the cancellation of his candidature was illegal, but we wish to give our own opinion in the matter. When the incident happened the respondent must have been about 20 years of age. At that age young people often commit indiscretions, and such indiscretions can often be condoned. After all, youth will be youth. They are not expected to behave in as mature a manner as older people. Hence, our approach should be to condone minor indiscretions made by young people rather than to brand them as criminals for the rest of their lives.”

“It is true that in the application form the respondent did not mention that he was involved in a criminal case under Sections 325/34 IPC. Probably he did not mention this out of fear that if he did so he would automatically be disqualified. At any event, it was not such a serious offence like murder, dacoity or rape, and hence a more lenient view should be taken in the matter.”

A similar view has been taken recently by Bombay High Court in the case of Pravin Arjun Shetkar v. State of Goa, 2015 SCC OnLine Bom 6654.

In view of the above, your acquittal in the offence under Section 324 IPC at a time when you were about 14 years of age should not disqualify you from getting the Government job. At the same time, you should not conceal the information about such acquittal and mention such information transparently and correctly in the attestation form that you are required to fill up for police verification at the time of getting the job.

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