CHENNAI: After 14 long years, Chennai resident M is set to get his dream job with the , thanks to the intervention of the . Palani was refused appointment as grade II constable – even after he cleared the required written exam and physical endurance tests in 2003 – on the grounds that he had been punished for copying in the Class XII board exam.
Asserting that copying in an exam cannot be construed as a criminal offence, Justice R Suresh Kumar set aside the denial order of the DGP, dated January 21, 2004. The court directed the department to consider the candidature of Palani if he is found to be physically fit and had displayed good conduct for all these 14 years.
“Even if the said involvement of copying, which ended with a punishment of disqualifying him, is considered a crime, he is certainly having the protective cover under the Juvenile Justice Act which prohibits disqualification for the crimes committed as a minor,” Justice Suresh Kumar said.
Palani is the first person from his family to complete school education. He had cleared the SSLC in May 1999 and later did his Class XII. On February 19, 2001, when he had appeared for the zoology paper in the board exam, the flying squad found a piece of paper lying on the floor next to him and, accordingly, found him guilty and recorded a statement from him.
Thereafter, a show-cause notice was issued to Palani and he was disqualified by the school authorities. Later, in 2003, he appeared in the recruitment process called for by the police department for the post of grade II constable and cleared all the exams including the test for physical endurance. However, on January 21, 2004, the office of the DGP issued an order denying appointment to Palani on the grounds that he was punished for copying in the board exam.
Aggrieved, Palani moved the Madras high court challenging the denial order. Representing Palani, advocate Balan Haridas submitted that the petitioner had not been involved in any crime within the Rule 14(b) of the Special Police Subordinate Service Rules.
“Assuming that the petitioner was involved in copying in +2 exams at that time the petitioner was only 17 years old, and, therefore, he was a juvenile. In the case of a juvenile, who had been tried under Section 19 of Juvenile Justice [care and protection of children] Act, he will be protected from being disqualified for any future civil rights/employment,” he added.