15 March 2023 8:30 AM GMT
While criticizing a retired Upper Division Clerk for fabricating a false community certificate, the Madras High Court held that reservation policy was a matter of great pride and its exploitation could not be justified even if it was detected late. The petitioner's contention that more than four decades has elapsed and therefore, the impugned order becomes time barred does not carry...
While criticizing a retired Upper Division Clerk for fabricating a false community certificate, the Madras High Court held that reservation policy was a matter of great pride and its exploitation could not be justified even if it was detected late.
The petitioner's contention that more than four decades has elapsed and therefore, the impugned order becomes time barred does not carry much conviction. This is because the reservation policy as such is a matter of pride for our diversity and any exploitation or misuse even if detected late cannot be a justification for such misuse.
Justice VM Velumani and Justice R Hemalatha added that at present there were systems for determining the genuineness of a person’s SC/ST lineage which did not exist earlier. Thus, when a vigilance committee had clearly established with sufficient proof that the person in question did not belong to the ST community as claimed by him at the time of employment, the court had no reason to sit in judgment or examine the full-fledged report.
“…now with the system in place covering all the aspects and facts to go into the genuineness of anyone's claim of belonging to SC/ST nothing much can be alleged against such committees which are intended only to weed out the unscrupulous elements who misuse the provisions of the Constitution. Therefore, we find no reason to sit in judgment or examine the full-fledged report of the Vigilance Committee and State Level Scrutiny Committee.“
The court was hearing a plea by a retired Upper Division Clerk challenging the order of the Tamil Nadu State Level Scrutiny Committee-III of Adi Dravidar Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Tamil Nadu which canceled the community certificate of the petitioner certifying him as belonging to the Hindu Konda Reddy, a Scheduled Tribe community. The petitioner was appointed to the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding under quota based on the above certificate. He attained superannuation in 2021 and was being paid a provisional pension.
While so, in 2014, the Director of the Institute referred his community certificate to the scrutiny committee which in turn was referred to the Vigilance Cell. The Vigilance cell made enquiries and concluded that the petitioner did not belong to the ST community. His community certificate was subsequently cancelled.
The petitioner, challenging this cancellation, submitted that no valid reasons were disclosed and that the proceedings had no legal sanctity. It was submitted that as per the Guidelines of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension verification of the Scheduled Tribe Certificate was to be done only for employments after 1995 whereas his appointment was in 1980. It was further argued that there was an inordinate delay of 40 years and the order made without looking into the antecedents of the petitioner was arbitrary and unsustainable.
The court, however noted that apart from the Vigilance Officer’s report, the Scrutiny committee had also relied on the anthropologists report which were in tune with the Vigilance report. The report also pointed out that while the petitioner belonged to the Konda Reddy community, his brother and daughter belonged to the Reddy community (Ganjam). These discrepancies went against the petitioner and the court found force in the vigilance report. Thus, the court dismissed the plea of the petitioner and refused to interfere with the findings of the committee.
Case Title: R Balasundaram v. The Tamil Nadu State Level Scrutiny Committee-III and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 89