WP(C) No. 384 of 2012. Case: Rekha Das Vs The State of Tripura and Ors. Tripura High Court

Case NumberWP(C) No. 384 of 2012
Party NameRekha Das Vs The State of Tripura and Ors
CounselFor Appellant: D.K. Biswas, Advocate and For Respondents: A.S. Lodh, Addl. G.A.
JudgesT. Vaiphei, C.J. and S.C. Das, J.
IssueConstitution of India - Articles 14, 15, 16, 226, 38, 39, 46
Judgement DateJanuary 31, 2017
CourtTripura High Court

Judgment:

S.C. Das, J., (At Agartala)

  1. This writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed challenging order dated 17.01.2012, passed by State Level Scrutiny Committee(SLSC), whereunder the caste status certificate of the petitioner dated 20.09.1980 has been cancelled, observing that the claim of the petitioner that she belonged to 'Mahishya Das' community was not correct and that the caste status certificate dated 20.09.1980 was obtained by misrepresentation. The petitioner also challenged order dated 17.07.2012(Annexure-5 to the writ petition), whereby the petitioner's appointment as a Multi-Purpose Worker(MPW) under the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare was cancelled and she was debarred from pursuing further in the employment.

  2. Heard learned counsel, Mr. D.K. Biswas for the petitioner and learned Addl. G.A., Mrs. A.S. Lodh for the State respondents.

  3. According to the petitioner, her forefather belonged to 'Mahishya Das' community. In the year 1957, her father migrated to India from the then East Pakistan and settled at village Dwarikapur under Khowai Sub-Division and she was born on 08.03.1957. She passed Madhyamik in the year 1980 and thereafter she came to learn that she belonged to Scheduled Caste community since her family belonged to 'Mahishya Das' community, and hence she applied for a Scheduled Caste certificate, which was accordingly issued in her favour on 20.09.1980 by the Sub-Divisional Officer, Khowai. She was appointed as a Multi-Purpose Worker(MPW) under the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Tripura in a Scheduled Caste category reserved post on 01.12.1986.

    She was issued a notice on 07.07.2001 from the office of the Sub-Divisional Officer, Khowai as to why her caste status certificate should not be cancelled. Subsequent thereto, the authority engaged Vigilance Cell to inquire into the genuinity of the caste status certificate of the petitioner and the Vigilance Cell submitted a report observing that the petitioner does not belong to 'Mahishya Das' community as claimed by her, and on the basis of that report a show cause notice was issued by the Director of Scheduled Castes & OBCs Welfare, Government of Tripura, and, in response to that show cause notice the petitioner submitted her reply, but the SLSC arbitrarily cancelled the certificate without affording her any opportunity of adducing evidence, etc.

  4. The respondents contended that the petitioner was given all opportunities of adducing evidence and her statement was recorded when she presented herself before the SLSC and in her statement itself she admitted that except her nobody in her family had any caste certificate. The respondents further contended that the petitioner was not a member of Scheduled Caste and the certificate was fraudulently obtained, and therefore the SLSC rightly cancelled the certificate issued in the name of the petitioner. As a consequence of that cancellation the petitioner was not entitled to continue in the job and she was therefore rightly dismissed from the job.

  5. At the time of hearing, the proceeding file of the SLSC was produced by learned Addl. G.A. and we have gone through the proceeding file.

  6. Mr. Biswas, learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the petitioner was not given opportunity to adduce evidence and also to cross-examine the witnesses who were examined by the Vigilance committee and therefore the decision of the SLSC is liable to be quashed.

  7. Learned Addl. G.A., Mrs. Lodh, on the other hand has submitted that the inquiry was conducted according to the rules and the petitioner was afforded opportunity and there was nothing wrong in the process.

  8. The Supreme Court in the case of Kumari Madhuri Patil & Anr. v. Addl. Commissioner, Tribal Development & Ors., reported in (1994) 6 SCC 241 has laid down the law regarding the procedures to be followed for verification/cancellation of caste status certificate.

  9. Rule 6 of the Tripura Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Reservation Rules, 1992 prescribes provision in respect of cancellation of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe certificate. That provision clearly reveals that such a certificate may be cancelled by the issuing authority and first proviso to Rule 6 prescribes the procedure to be followed by the issuing authority while cancelling the certificate and the second proviso prescribes the power of the Scrutiny Committee(SLSC) to cancel such certificate. The second proviso to Rule 6 reads as follows:-

    Provided further that the Scrutiny Committee shall also be competent to cancel a community certificate issued by a competent authority. For arriving at a decision whether the community certificate in question shall be cancelled or not, the Scrutiny Committee shall follow the procedure prescribed in Rule 7A hereinafter along with reports/records obtained from the competent authority.

  10. Rule 7A has been inserted after the Supreme Court's judgments on the issue which prescribes the detailed procedures to be followed by the Scrutiny Committee(SLSC). For ready reference, Rule 7A is quoted here which reads as follows:

    [7A Constitution, Powers and Functions of the Scrutiny Committee.

    (1) At the State Level there shall be two Scrutiny Committees as follows -

    (a) For verification of community status of Scheduled Caste Certificate holders, the Scrutiny Committee shall consist of:-

    (i) The Secretary-in-charge of Department for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes and Minorities- Chairman.

    (ii) The Director for Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes -Member-Secretary

    (iii) Joint Secretary or Deputy Secretary of the Law Department] - Member

    [(iv) Additional Director or Joint Director or Deputy Director for Welfare of Scheduled Castes & Other Backward Classes - Member

    (b) For verification of community status of Scheduled Tribe certificate holders, the Scrutiny Committee shall consist of:-

    (i) The Secretary-in-charge of the Tribal Welfare Department - Chairman

    (ii) The Director for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes -Member-Secretary

    (iii) The Director, Tribal Research Institute - Member

    (iv) Joint Secretary or Deputy Secretary of the Law Department] - Member

    [(2) Director of Vigilance shall constitute a vigilance cell consisting of Senior Deputy Superintendent of Police in over-all charge and such number of Police Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors to investigate into the community status and claims as may be required.

    (3) The Investigating Officer would go to the local place of residence and original place from which the candidate hails and usually resides or in case of migration to the town or city, the place from which he originally hailed. He should personally verify and collect all the facts of the...

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