The Supreme Court had laid down the detailed procedure for verifying caste certificates. In this regard, the procedure is to be applied by the concerned state government in the absence of any legislation
PANAJI: The Bombay high court at Goa has directed the state government to ensure a mechanism is in place in order that those who avail of the benefits of caste-based reservations, have their certificates verified by a caste scrutiny committee (CSC). For this, the court has given three months.
Hearing a petition filed by one Tarak Arolkar, a councillor at a local municipal council, whose caste certificate was set aside by the scrutiny committee, the high court observed that there was “no mechanism in the state” to ensure the verification of the caste status of those availing the benefits of caste-based reservation– as was mandated by the Supreme Court in the Kumari Madhuri Patil case of 1995.
The Supreme Court had laid down the detailed procedure for verifying caste certificates. In this regard, the procedure is to be applied by the concerned state government in the absence of any legislation.
“Unfortunately, in the State of Goa, no legislation or executive institution requires the candidate elected from a reserved constituency to secure verification of his caste certificate before filing the nomination form or within some reasonable period after the candidate is elected from the reserved constituency… As a result, we are sure there must be several elected candidates, appointees or even students who are yet to get their provisional caste certificate verified from the CSC following the procedure in Kumari Madhuri Patil,” the high court bench of justices M S Sonak and Bharat Deshpande observed.
“This situation is far from satisfactory. Due to the absence of any law or executive instruction, undeserving persons can continue to draw the benefits of reservations and deprive the genuinely reserved category persons of such benefits legitimately due to them,” the high court further said as it directed that the Goa government should “consider adopting appropriate steps so that provisional caste certificates issued by deputy collectors and sub-divisional officers are verified within a reasonable period, and those who do not belong to the reserved caste but have yet secured the benefits of reservation are weeded out at the earliest”.
“Accordingly, we direct the government to consider taking such steps at the earliest if it is serious about properly implementing the reservation benefits. The state government is directed to consider within three months from today,” the high court said.
Arolkar’s certificate was called into question following a complaint filed by a political opponent which led to an inquiry into the genuineness of his certificate. The CSC passed an order stating that the certificate was invalid since it was allegedly acquired using “a dubious birth certificate”.
The high court, however, asked the CSC to examine the matter afresh whilst ruling that the order was passed violating principles of natural justice and fair play and unreasonableness as well as because it was passed due to “non-application of mind and posing of incorrect questions”.