Supreme Court of India
State Of Haryana & Anr vs Ved Kaur on 3 May, 2017Author: ………………………J.

Bench: Adarsh Kumar Goel, Uday Umesh Lalit




CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6066 of 2017
(Arising out of SLP (Civil) No.21622 of 2015)

State of Haryana and Another …. Appellants


Ved Kaur …. Respondent


Uday Umesh Lalit, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. The appellants seek to challenge the judgment and order dated
25.08.2014 of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh passed in
LPA No.1353 of 2014 (OM), affirming the view taken by the Single Judge of
the High Court on 22.01.2014 in CWP No.14998 of 2007.

3. One Dharam Singh (since deceased and represented by his widow, the
respondent herein) was working as JBT teacher in Education Department in
State of Haryana since 07.10.1967. He and two others were convicted under
Section 304 Part-II IPC vide judgment and order passed by the trial court
on 29.10.1994 and were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four
years. On the basis of said conviction and sentence, Dharam Singh was
dismissed from service, without holding any enquiry, vide order dated
28.03.1995 on the ground that he was convicted and sentenced for an offence
involving moral turpitude.

4. While the appeal preferred against the judgment of conviction and
sentence was pending, Dharam Singh expired on 11.12.2002 and his appeal
abated. Subsequently the appeal of the co-accused was partly allowed and
they were acquitted of the offence under Section 304 Part II IPC but were
convicted under Section 323 read with Section 34 IPC. The role of the co-
accused was admittedly similar to that of Dharam Singh.

5. After the acquittal of the co-accused, the respondent called upon the
State to set aside the order of dismissal of her husband in the light of
the finding recorded by the appellate court and to release all the service
benefits to which her deceased husband was entitled. This claim having
been rejected, the respondent filed CWP No.10134 of 2005 which was
disposed of by the High Court directing the State to reconsider the claim
of the respondent. The matter was, therefore, reconsidered by the State
but the claim was again rejected.

6. The rejection of claim was challenged afresh by the respondent by
filing CWP No.14998 of 2007 which was allowed by the Single Judge of the
High Court, relying on the instructions dated 26.03.1975 issued by State of
Haryana wherein offences involving “moral turpitude” stand enlisted. It
was observed that the offence under Section 323 IPC did not fall under said
category of offences. It was further observed that the role attributed to
the deceased husband of the respondent was similar to that of his co-
accused and that the appellate court had held that the death in the case
was not because of the injuries attributed to the accused but it was
because of renal failure.

7. The decision of the Single Judge was questioned by the State by
filing Letters Patent Appeal No.1353 of 2014 (OM). Affirming the view
taken by the Single Judge, the Division Bench dismissed the aforesaid LPA
and held the respondent to be entitled to all consequential benefits.

8. The instructions dated 26.03.1975 which were relied upon in the
present case, had been considered by this Court in Pawan Kumar v. State of
Haryana and another[1] and paragraph 12 of the decision is relevant for
present purposes. The said paragraph was as under:

“12. Moral turpitude” is an expression which is used in legal as also
societal parlance to describe conduct which is inherently base, vile,
depraved or having any connection showing depravity. The Government of
Haryana while considering the question of rehabilitation of ex-convicts
took a policy decision on 2-2-1973 (Annexure E in the Paper-book),
accepting the recommendations of the Government of India, that ex-convicts
who were convicted for offences involving moral turpitude should not
however be taken in government service. A list of offences which were
considered involving moral turpitude was prepared for information and
guidance in that connection. Significantly Section 294 IPC is not found
enlisted in the list of offences constituting moral turpitude. Later, on
further consideration, the Government of Haryana on 17/26-3-1975 explained
the policy decision of 2-2-1973 and decided to modify the earlier decision
by streamlining determination of moral turpitude as follows:

“… The following terms should ordinarily be applied in judging whether a
certain offence involves moral turpitude or not;

whether the act leading to a conviction was such as could shock the moral
conscience of society in general.

whether the motive which led to the act was a base one.

whether on account of the act having been committed the perpetrator could
be considered to be of a depraved character or a person who was to be
looked down upon by the society.

Decision in each case will, however, depend on the circumstances of the
case and the competent authority has to exercise its discretion while
taking a decision in accordance with the above-mentioned principles. A list
of offences which involve moral turpitude is enclosed for your information
and guidance. This list, however, cannot be said to be exhaustive and there
might be offences which are not included in it but which in certain
situations and circumstances may involve moral turpitude.”

Section 294 IPC still remains out of the list. Thus the conviction of the
appellant under Section 294 IPC on its own would not involve moral
turpitude depriving him of the opportunity to serve the State unless the
facts and circumstances, which led to the conviction, met the requirements
of the policy decision above-quoted.”

9. The aforesaid decision shows that Section 294 IPC was not part of the
list of offences appended to the instructions dated 26.03.1975 and as such
it was held by this Court that the conviction of the appellant therein
under Section 294 IPC would not involve moral turpitude depriving him of
the opportunity to serve the State unless the facts and circumstances which
led to his conviction, met the requirement of the policy decision.

10. In the aforesaid context, decision of the Division Bench of the High
Court of Punjab and Haryana in State of Haryana and another v. Ram
Chander[2] on which reliance was placed by the respondent, is also
significant wherein same instructions dated 26.03.1975 were considered by
the Division Bench and paragraphs 11 and 12 of the said decision were as

“11. Following principles can be culled out, as contained in the aforesaid

(a) Those who are involved in moral turpitude should not be taken in
government service.

(b) Those who are convicted of offences, which do not involve moral
turpitude or those who are released under the Probation of Offenders Act,
should not suffer any disability in respect of obtaining government

(c) With regard to those convicted of offence not involving moral
turpitude, laying down uniform policy, is not possible and it is left to
the appointing authority in each case to make detailed inquiry and satisfy
himself fully that ex-convict has reformed himself after release from jail
and nothing adverse about his conduct has come to notice after his
conviction. Such an inquiry is to be made invariably through Police

(d) What amounts to moral turpitude is also stated in para (iii) of the

(e) Discretion is given to the competent authority while taking decision in
accordance with principle mentioned in these instructions.

12. On the basis of these instructions, when competent authority is to
invoke its power under Rule 7(2)(b) of the P&A Rules, 1978, the first
question would be as to whether the offences for which the employee is
convicted constitute moral turpitude. If the answer is in the affirmative,
it would be open to the competent authority to pass the order of
termination without holding inquiry. However, if the offences for which an
employee is convicted have no shades of moral turpitude, the disciplinary
authority has to look into the attendant circumstances leading to the
conduct of such an employee to see whether he is suitable for rejection in
government service or not.”

11. In the aforesaid decision of the Division Bench, the conviction under
Section 323 was not held to constitute one involving moral turpitude in
terms of the test laid down in instructions dated 26.03.1975. In the
premises, the decision of the Division Bench affirming that of the Single
Judge in the present case does not call for any interference. However, it
must be noted at this stage and it was fairly accepted by Mr. Tushar
Bakshi, learned Advocate appearing for the respondent that in view of the
decision of this Court in State Bank of India and another v. Mohammed Abdul
Rahim[3] the order regarding payment of backwages as directed by the courts
below needed modification. Paragraph 12 of said decision was as under:
“The respondent was acquitted on 22-2-2002, the demand for reinstatement
was made by him on 22-4-2002 and he was reinstated in service by the
appellant bank on 7-11-2002. On the view that we have taken, at the
highest, what can be said in favour of the respondent is that he is
entitled to wages from the date he had lodged the demand for the same
following his acquittal, namely, from 22-4-2002, until the date of his
reinstatement, if the same has not already been granted by the appellant

12. In the present case by the time the benefit of acquittal of the co-
accused was pressed in service and claim was raised by the respondent,
Dharam Singh had already expired. In the circumstances, we direct that the
respondent shall be entitled to all the benefits in terms of the judgment
under appeal except the payment of back wages. All the other consequential
benefits be computed and released to the respondent within two months from
the date of this Judgment. With the aforesaid modification, the appeal
stands disposed of.

(Adarsh Kumar Goel)

(Uday Umesh Lalit)

New Delhi,
May 03, 2017
———————–[1] (1996) 4 SCC 17
[2] LPA No.95 of 2013 (O&M) decided on 18.02.2013
[3] (2013) 11 SCC 67


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