The Supreme Court observed that when a person secures appointment on the basis of a false caste certificate, he cannot be permitted to retain the benefit of wrongful appointment.
In this case, the employee obtained a Caste Certificate showing him to be "Halba" Scheduled Tribe from the Deputy Collector, Durg and on the basis of the said certificate, joined service as a Management Trainee (Technical) against a Schedule Tribe quota vacancy at the Bhillai Steel Plant of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). Later, High-Level Caste Scrutiny Committee, Raipur cancelled his Caste Certificate with the observation that he failed to produce documents prior to the year 1950 showing him as Halba. Following this, he was terminated from service. He challenged the Termination order before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The Chhattisgarh High Court allowed his writ petition relying on a judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra Vs. Milind and Ors. (2001) 1 SCC 4.
Before the Apex Court, referring to Union of India vs. Dattatray & Ors (2008) 4 SCC 612, it was contended that the Milind's judgment was made applicable only for the doctor litigant in the larger interest of the society and the ratio thereof, cannot be indiscriminately applied in cases of persons who undeservingly secure public appointments to reserved category jobs. It was further contended that the judgment in Milind (supra) was clarified by this Court in Dattatray (supra) that Milind does not propound retention of any person in service who secured employment in a ST category vacancy, on the basis of a false caste certificate. The respondent contended that the appointed person even with the adverse finding of the Caste Scrutiny Committee against him, is entitled to retain his job.
The bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy agreed with the appellant's contention that High Court misapplied the ratio in Milind, since the appointment as Management Trainee (Technical), cannot be compared to the education and appointment of a medical doctor. The court observed:
"As we notice, the High Court disregarded the Government's circular dated 11.01.2016 whereby the previous circular (01.10.2011) was cancelled with the specific observation that Milind's judgment was clarified subsequently in Dattatray, by declaring that when a person secures appointment on the basis of a false certificate, he cannot be permitted to retain the benefit of wrongful appointment. In fact, necessary actions were expected to be taken against those who secured unmerited appointment on the basis of false caste certificate".
Allowing the appeal, the bench said:
"The ratio in Milind (supra) was incorrectly applied in the impugned judgment since it is not the case of the respondent Page 14 of 15 no.1 that he belongs to the ST category. According to our understanding of the circumstances, the High Court instead of granting equitable relief to the Respondent no. 1, should have held that he cannot continue to usurp the benefits meant for a ST category person. Indeed the Division Bench should have said "the game is up" as was pronounced by Shakespeare in the play Cymbeline when the character stood exposed for what he actually was. Consequently we are of the opinion that the Respondent no. 1 being an OBC cannot be retained in a ST category post. However the emoluments paid to him should not be recovered. It is further held that the respondent no.1 is disentitled to any pensionary benefit by virtue of his wrongful appointment"
Chief Executive Officer Bhilai Steel Plant Bhilai vs Mahesh Kumar Gonnade | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 572 | CA 4990 OF 2021 | 11 July 2022
Coram: Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy
Counsel: Sr. Adv Maninder Singh for appellant, Sr. Adv Anupam Lal Das for respondent, Adv Sumir Sodhi for State
Service Law - Caste Certificate - When a person secures appointment on the basis of a false certificate, he cannot be permitted to retain the benefit of wrongful appointment - Referred to Union of India vs. Dattatray & Ors (2008) 4 SCC 612. (Para 14)
Service Law - Appointment as Management Trainee (Technical), cannot be compared to the education and appointment of a medical doctor - Referred to State of Maharashtra Vs. Milind and Ors. (2001) 1 SCC 4 and Union of India vs. Dattatray & Ors (2008) 4 SCC 612. (Para 12)