Relevant Extract of Chhattisgarh High Court Judgment
10.The Supreme Court in the matter of Madhuri Patil v. Commissioner, Tribal Development 5 formulated scheme for verification of tribal status and held that any application for verification of her tribal status as a scheduled tribe should be carried out by such committee and issued direction for issuance of social caste certificate, their scrutiny. The directions issued are as under:-
“13. … (1) The application for grant of social status certificate shall be made to the Revenue Sub-Divisional Officer and Deputy Collector or Deputy Commissioner and the certificate shall be issued by such Officer rather than at the officer, taluk or mandal level.
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(4) All the State Governments shall constitute a Committee of three officers, namely, (i) an Additional or Joint Secretary or any officer higher in rank of the Director of the Department concerned, (ii) the Director, Social Welfare/Tribal Welfare/Backward Class Welfare, as the case may be, and (iii) in the case of Scheduled Castes another officer who has intimate knowledge in the verification and issuance of the social status certificates. In the case of the Scheduled Tribes, the Research Officer who has intimate knowledge in identifying the tribes, tribal communities, parts of or groups of tribes or tribal communities.
(5) Each Directorate should constitute a vigilance cell consisting of Senior Deputy Superintendent of Police in overall charge and such number of Police Inspectors to investigate into the social status claims. The Inspector 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 from. The Vigilance Officer should personally verify and collect all the facts of the social status claimed by the candidate or the parent or guardian, as the case may be. He should also examine the school records, birth registration, if any. He should also examine the parent, guardian or the candidate in relation to their caste, etc. or such other persons who have knowledge of the social status of the candidate and then submit a report to the Directorate together with all particulars as envisaged in the pro forma, in particular, of the Scheduled Tribes relating to their peculiar anthropological and ethnological traits, deities, rituals, customs, mode of marriage, death ceremonies, method of burial of dead bodies, etc. by the castes or tribes or tribal communities concerned, etc.
(6) The Director concerned, on receipt of the report from the Vigilance Officer if he found the claim for social status to be ‘not genuine’ or ‘doubtful’ or spurious or falsely or wrongly claimed, the Director concerned should issue a show-cause notice supplying a copy of the report of the Vigilance Officer to the candidate by a registered post with acknowledgement due or through the head of the educational institution concerned in which the candidate is studying or employed. …
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(9) The inquiry should be completed as expeditiously as possible preferably by day-to-day proceedings within such period not exceeding two months. If after inquiry, the Caste Scrutiny Committee finds the claim to be false or spurious, they should pass an order cancelling the certificate issued and confiscate the same. It should communicate within one month from the date of the conclusion of the proceedings the result of enquiry to the parent/guardian and the applicant.”
11.Quite recently following the principles laid down in Madhuri Patil (supra), in the matter of Collector, Bilaspur v. Ajit P.K. Jogi and others6 , the Supreme Court has held that the verification of validity of the caste certificate and the determination of the caste status should therefore be done only by scrutiny committee constituted as per direction in Madhuri Patil (supra) or in terms of any statute made by appropriate Government in that behalf.
12.In the matter of Sudhakar Vithal Kumbhare v. State of Maharashtra and others7 , Their Lordships of the Supreme Court have held that issue of caste status cannot be gone into in a departmental enquiry and this matter can be examined only by the Caste Scrutiny Committee constituted under the direction of the Supreme Court in the case of Kumari Madhuri Patil (supra).
13.In view of the crystallized legal position, as on date, the respondent SECL cannot be allowed to hold departmental enquiry on the allegation that the petitioners do not belong to ST category as claimed by them. Proper course of action would have been to refer the case of the petitioners to the Caste Scrutiny Committee and thereafter, to proceed in accordance with law after the result of the report submitted by the Caste Scrutiny Committee as such, charge-sheet issued by the respondent SECL is without jurisdiction and without authority of law. Such a jurisdiction exclusively vests with the Caste Scrutiny Committee as held by Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Kumari Madhuri Patil (supra) and Ajit P.K. Jogi’s case (supra).
14.In the result, both the writ petitions are allowed. Departmental enquiry initiated against the petitioners by order Annexure P-1 is hereby quashed. The petitioners are entitled for reinstatement along with consequential benefits. The respondents are directed to reinstate the petitioners along with consequential back-wages.
15.It is open to the respondent SECL to proceed in accordance www.taxguru.in W.P.(S)Nos.5491/2011 & 5938/2011 Page 9 of 10 with law including to refer the matter of caste of the two petitioners to the Caste Scrutiny Committee and the respondent SECL will be at liberty to take appropriate action against the petitioners depending upon the result of the said Committee, if any.