Corruption by a public servant is an offence against the State and the society and courts cannot deal with such cases like suits for specific performance, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday, Live Law reported.

A suit of specific performance can be filed against a contractual firm or an individual who incurs losses to employer due to poor conduct.

A bench of Justices SA Nazeer and V Ramasubramanian made the remarks while setting aside a Madras High Court order that quashed a criminal complaint in a job scam noting that all the victims went back on their allegations after they received settlement money, Live Law reported.

The complainant had filed an affidavit in the High Court saying that case was related to money, which was sorted out, PTI reported. Political rivalry between two groups had exacerbated the matter, the complainant added. The victims, who originally claimed to have paid money for getting jobs, also filed affidavits supporting the accused.

When the petition came up for hearing, the state government’s counsel said that the incident took place in 2014 and that a negotiation had been reached between the accused person and the victims in the same year.

The High Court took note of the submissions and quashed the criminal complaint.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court described the High Court judgement as erroneous. It asked courts to not make haste while quashing criminal proceedings on the basis of a settlement reached between the parties when the offences can impact others, Live Law reported.

The court said that in the job scam case, the persons who have adopted corrupt practices fall under two categories – those who received appointments for money and those who did not receive jobs despite paying up.

“If persons belonging to the second category are allowed to settle their dispute by taking a refund of money, the same would affix a seal of approval on the appointment of persons belonging to the first category,” the court said.

The court said it cannot ignore the fact that candidates appointed to government posts through corrupt practices are eventually called to render public service, PTI reported.

“It is needless to say that the quality of public service rendered by such persons will be inversely proportionate to the corrupt practices adopted by them,” the court said. “Therefore, the public, who are recipients of these services, also become victims, though indirectly, because the consequences of such appointments get reflected sooner or later in the work performed by the appointees.”