Legal Advice

Can the government dismiss an employee who secured a job in the reserved category without fraud?


Can the government dismiss an employee who secured a job in the reserved category without fraud? I’m appointed as a junior engineer in the government department in the other backward category. At the time of recruitment my caste was considered as an OBC but later on it was converted into a scheduled caste. It was a decision of the government. After sixteen years of service the department has initiated proceedings to dismiss and terminate from the service due to submitting forged caste certificate and fraudulently secured job in the OBC category. Can the government have the power to remove me from the service?


If the caste certificate was genuine and your caste was regarded as the other backward class, at the time of joining, then the government cannot dismiss you from the service. 

Government cannot dismiss an employee on its own fault

When the employee has committed no fraud during the process of joining the government (employer) cannot dismiss or remove that employee from the service on its own fault.

You had not played fraud at the time of joining because the caste certificate was genuine. No false and frivolous information was furnished to the government at the time of joining. 

The government issues caste certificates hence, the rule of promissory estoppel will apply in your case. At the time of joining the concerned authority had an opportunity to verify your documents. You joined the service after due verification of necessary documents and eligibility criteria.

After sixteen years of service the government cannot say that the caste certificate was not verified. Hence, the government at this stage cannot remove you from the service on the grounds of fraud. 

In your case the caste certificate was genuine and at the time of joining your caste was regarded as the OBC. Later on modification or alteration in caste by the government cannot form the basis of removal from service.

In Kumari Vandna Srivastava v. Principal, M.L.N. Medical College, Allahabad, 1986 UP LB EC 435 the Allahabad High Court has held that if no mistake was done on the part of petitioner at the time of admission the college cannot terminate the petitioner on the ground that petitioner belongs to another category. 

In Sri Krishna v. Kurukshetra University, (1976) 1 SCC 311 : AIR 1976 SC 376 the Supreme Court has held that once a candidate was allowed to take admission, rightly or wrongly his candidature cannot be denied on the ground of fraud if a person on whom fraud is committed is in a position to discover the truth by due diligence, the fraud is said to be not proved.

The above two judgments prohibit the government from terminating the candidature on the ground of promissory estoppel. Once the government has given the admission in due course it cannot retract on its own fault.

It was the responsibility of the government to verify the caste and eligibility of candidates at the time of joining. If there was no mistake or fraud committed by the candidate, later on, his candidature cannot be terminated. 

You should file a writ petition in the High Court under Article 226 of Constitution and challenge the legality of the order of termination. This order is illegal and groundless. According to the principle of promissory estoppel the government cannot change its decision after sixteen years.

Shivendra Pratap Singh


High Court Lucknow

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