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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Service matter - Caste certificate - Schedule Tribe Halba - the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Tribes, (Vimukta Jatis) Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Act, 2000 (for short, ‘2000 Act’) - Termination of service - Tribunal reinstated as they shall not get any benefit of reservation after 28.11.2000 as per Act but not retrospective - single judged confirmed the same - D.B bench negatived the same basing on Dattatreya 3 bench judge of Apex court - Apex court held that since Dattatreya not overruled the number of judgments of two benches of Apex court who order for reinstatement when there was no fraud on the employee in getting job on reservation and obtaining caste certificate - and as the Dattaterya case was based only on the fraud played by employee in obtaining caste certificate - Apex court set aside the D.B. bench high court judgment and order for reinstatement with a clause that she will not get any promotions on the base of reservation as mentioned in Maharashtra Act 2000 = Shalini …..Appellant Versus New English High Sch. Assn. & Ors. …..Respondents = published in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41077

 Service matter - Caste certificate - Schedule Tribe Halba -   the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled  Tribes, De-notified  Tribes,  (Vimukta  Jatis)  Nomadic  Tribes,   Other
  Backward Classes and Special Backward  Category  (Regulation  of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Act,  2000  (for short, ‘2000 Act’) - Termination of service - Tribunal reinstated as they shall not get any benefit  of  reservation after 28.11.2000 as per Act but not retrospective - single judged confirmed the same - D.B bench negatived the same basing on Dattatreya 3 bench judge of Apex court - Apex court held that since Dattatreya not overruled the number of judgments of two benches of Apex court who order for reinstatement when there was no fraud on the employee in getting job on reservation and obtaining caste certificate - and as the Dattaterya case was based only on the fraud played by employee in obtaining caste certificate - Apex court set aside the D.B. bench high court judgment and order for reinstatement with a clause that she will not get any promotions on the base of reservation as mentioned in Maharashtra Act 2000 =
 Can it therefore seriously be contended  that  a  person who  has  honestly,  in  contradistinction  with  falsely,  claimed consanguinity with a certain group which was later on found not  to belong to an envisaged Scheduled Tribe but to  a  special  backward  class be visited with termination of her employment?  =
Whilst “Caste Certificate” has been defined  in  Section
      2(a) of the 2000 Act, “False Caste Certificate”  has  not  been  dealt
      with in the  Definitions  clause.   There  is  always  an  element  of
      deceitfulness,  in  order  to  derive  unfair  or  undeserved  benefit
      whenever a false statement or representation or stand  is  adopted  by
      the person concerned.  An innocent statement which later transpires to
      be incorrect may be seen as false in general sense would normally  not
      attract punitive or detrimental consequences on the person making  it,
      as it is one made by error.   An  untruth  coupled  with  a  dishonest
      intent however requires legal retribution.   It  appears  to  us  that
      Section 10 applies in the Dattatray mould only.  It was obviously  for
      this reason that in Vilas, Sema J, was of the opinion  that  the  2000
      Act did not apply to the facts before it whereas  Sirpurkar  J,  after
      concurring with Sema J, granted protection albeit under Article 142 of
      the Constitution of India.  In Nimje another Two-Judge Bench held that
      Government Resolution dated 15.6.1995 would  continue  to  apply  even
      after the passing of the 2000 Act so long as the appointment had taken
      place prior to 1995.  There is,  therefore,  palpable  wisdom  in  the
      Office Memorandum dated 10.8.2010 of the Government of India, Ministry
      of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of  Personnel
      & Training to the effect that “it has been decided  that  the  persons
      belonging to the  ‘Halba  Koshti/Koshti’  caste  who  got  appointment
      against vacancies reserved for the Scheduled Tribes on  the  basis  of
      Scheduled  Tribe  certificates,  issued  to  them  by  the   competent
      authority, under the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order,  1950  (as
      amended from time to time) relating to the State  of  Maharashtra  and
      whose appointments had become final on or before 28.11.2000, shall not
      be affected.  However, they shall not get any benefit  of  reservation
      after 28.11.2000.”
     8. The Appellant before us has been in service since 6.11.1981 on  the
        strength of her claim of consanguinity to ‘Halba  Scheduled  Tribe’
        duly predicated on a  Certificate  dated  8.7.1974  issued  by  the
        Competent Authority.  
Avowedly  she  was  appointed  in  a  vacancy
        earmarked against the Scheduled Tribe category.  She was  confirmed
        as Assistant Teacher with effect from 1.1.1984.   Respondent  nos.1
        and  2,  by  order  dated  17.9.1989  appointed  the  Appellant  as
        Assistant Head Mistress.  
Thereafter on 28.4.1994 she was  promoted
        as Head Mistress by an order of even date, subject to production of
        Caste Validity Certificate.  
It is not clear when  the  certificate
        produced by the  Appellant  was  referred  to  the  Caste  Scrutiny
        Committee, Nagpur for verification, but the said Committee by Order
        dated 20.8.2003 held it to be invalid.  
The learned Single Judge of
        the High Court  of  Judicature  at  Bombay,  Nagpur  Bench  granted
        protection in service on the basis of Government  Resolution  dated
        15.6.1995 by his order dated 2.9.2003 in Writ Petition  No.3500  of
        2003.  
Protracted litigation thereafter ensued eventually resulting
        in the filing of another Writ Petition No.4532 of 2004 in  which  a
        learned Single Judge  by  order  dated  11.11.2009  set  aside  the
        reinstatement order passed by the  School  Tribunal,  Nagpur  which
        came to be affirmed by the Division Bench  in  the  impugned  Order
        which was of the opinion that Dattatray prohibited the extension of
        any protection to the Appellant.  Having come to  that  conclusion,
        the Division Bench did not  think  it  necessary  to  consider  the
        plethora  of  precedents,  albeit  of   Two-Judge   Benches   where
        protection had in fact been granted.  Be that as it may,  we  think
        that since there was no falsity in the claim of the  Appellant  and
        therefore that she cannot be viewed as having filed a ‘false’ Caste
        Certificate, the rigours of Section 10 of the 2000  Act  would  not
        apply to her case.  A perusal of the Order of the  Scheduled  Tribe
        Caste Certificate Committee, Nagpur shows that  the  Committee  was
        satisfied that her claim  to  the  caste  of  ‘Gadwal  Koshti’  was
        correct but that she did not belong  to  ‘Halba’  Scheduled  Tribe.
        Government Resolution dated 15.6.1995  specifically  declares  that
        the following were  basically  backward  in  social,  economic  and
        educational viewpoint and were therefore “special  backward  class”
        vide Government Resolution dated 7.12.1994 :
           “Sr. No.   Name of the Caste
                1.          …. …. …. ….
                2.          …. …. …. ….
                3.          (1) Koshti (2) Halba Koshti (3) Halba Caste (4)
                      Sali (5) Ladkoshti (6) Gadwal Koshti (7)  Deshkar  (8)
                      Salewar (9) Padmashali (10) Dwang  (11)  Kachi  Dhande
                      (Glass occupation) (12) Patwos (13) Satpal  (14)  Sade
                      (15) Dhankoshti.”
                                                   [Emphasis supplied]
     9. It requires specialised bodies such as Caste  Scrutiny  Committees,
        specialised lawyers, seasoned bureaucrats etc.  to  decipher  which
        category a relatively backward,  or  ostracized  or  tribal  person
        falls in.  Can it therefore seriously be contended  that  a  person
        who  has  honestly,  in  contradistinction  with  falsely,  claimed
        consanguinity with a certain group which was later on found not  to
        belong to an envisaged Scheduled Tribe but to  a  special  backward
        class be visited with termination of her employment?  We think that
        that is not the intent of the law, and certainly was not  what  the
        Three-Judge  Bench  was  confronted  with  in  Dattatray.   In  our
        opinion, therefore, the Appellant should have  been  debarred  from
        any further advantage that would enure to persons belonging to  the
        ‘Halba’ Tribe.
    10. Accordingly, we direct reinstatement of the  Appellant  in  service
        but without any back  wages.   With  the  passage  of  time  it  is
        possible that there may be another incumbent as  Head  Mistress  of
        the Respondent No.1-School and  we  think  that  it  would  not  be
        equitable to remove such  person.   However,  if  this  post  falls
        vacant before the  Appellant  reaches  the  age  of  retirement  or
        superannuation she shall be re-appointed to that post but  with  no
        further promotion as a Scheduled  Tribe  candidate  unless  she  is
        otherwise entitled as a  special  backward  class  candidate.   The
        Appeal stands disposed of  accordingly.   The  parties  shall  bear
        their respective costs.


                       REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                  CIVIL APPEAL NO.    10997         OF 2013
                  [Arising out of S.L.P.(C)No.2680 of 2010]


      Shalini                                           …..Appellant


            Versus


      New English High Sch. Assn. & Ors.                      …..Respondents






                               J U D G M E N T




      VIKRAMAJIT SEN, J.


        1. Leave granted.  This Appeal challenges the Order of the Division
           Bench of the High Court of Judicature at  Bombay,  Nagpur  Bench
           passed on 25.11.2009 in L.P.A.  No.527  of  2009  affirming  the
           Order  of  the  learned  Single  Judge  who  had  dismissed  the
           Appellant’s Writ Petition essentially  on  the  opinion  of  the
           Three-Judge Bench in Union of India v. Dattatray  (2008)  4  SCC
           612.  
The Order impugned before the  learned  Single  Judge  was
           that  of  the  School  Tribunal,  Nagpur   which   had   granted
           reinstatement of the Appellant with continuity  of  service  and
           full  back  wages.  
The  Appellant  had  been  employed  as  an
           Assistant Teacher against  a  vacancy  earmarked  for  Scheduled
           Tribe candidate, she having  filed  a  Caste  Certificate  dated
           8.7.1974 issued by the Competent  Authority  testifying  her  to
           belong to the “Halba Scheduled Tribe Category”.  
The  question
           before us is indeed a vexed one, as are all  conundrums  arising
           out of claims for Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe status  and
           resultant benefits.  The  confusion  is  made  worst  confounded
           because of exclusions or inclusions of certain castes or classes
           of  people  keeping   only   electoral   advantages   in   mind.
           
Retrospectivity is inherent  in  subsequent  enumerations  under
           Articles 341 and 342 since  those  selection  are  immutable  or
           unalterable; all change  therefore,  is  only  clarificatory  in
           content, because the endeavour of  Parliament  is  to  make  the
           enumerations more  detailed  by  mentioning  sub-castes  or  the
           synonyms of the selected castes and tribes.  
The  inclusion  of
           new  castes/tribes  was  intended  by   the   framers   of   the
           Constitution to be impermissible, in  order  “to  eliminate  any
           kind of political factors having a play in  the  matter  of  the
           disturbance in the Schedule so published by  the  President”  as
           per the Constituent Assembly  oration  of  Dr.  Ambedkar,  which
           stands accepted by the Apex Court at least twice, as in State of
           Maharashtra v. Milind (2001) 1 SCC 4 and E.V. Chinnaiah v. State
           of A.P. (2005) 1  SCC  394.   
We  have  to  decide
whether  the Appellant’s employment  was  justifiably  terminated  because  a Caste Scrutiny Committee after a  passage  of  several  decades, found her disentitled to claim the benefits enuring to Halbas.
        2. In R. Vishwanatha Pillai v. State of Kerala (2004)  2  SCC  105,
           this Court found that the  caste  certificate  procured  by  the
           Appellant was false ab initio. It repelled the argument  that  a
           fresh notice should have been issued in compliance with  Article
           311 of the Constitution of India as a prelude to the  imposition
           of any punishment postulated by that provision, on  the  premise
           that the  appointment  itself  was  illegal  and  void,  thereby
           disentitling the Appellant from Constitutional protection.
This
           Court also rejected the plea that since the Appellant had put in
           27 years of service the order of dismissal should  be  converted
           to  compulsory  retirement  or  removal  from  service  so  that
           pensionary benefits could be availed  of.  
The  question  which
           immediately begs to be cogitated upon  is
whether  these  harsh
           consequences should nevertheless ensue and  obtain  even  if  no
           fraud, mendacity or manipulation is ascribable to the person who
           has claimed and enjoyed Scheduled Caste advantages.
        3. This slant in the situation arose in State of Maharashtra v.  Om
           Raj (2007) 14 SCC 488 whereby several appeals came to be decided
           simply on the basis of  Milind,  the  gist  of  which  was  that
           protection so far as the benefit then claimed on the strength of
           being Koshtis would be preserved, but the incumbent would not be
           entitled to any further  benefit  in  the  future.    To  remove
           confusion, State of Maharashtra  v.  Viswanath  [C.A.No.7375  of
           2000] has also been decided in Om Raj with  other  appeals.   In
           Punjab National Bank v. Vilas (2008) 14 SCC  545,
the  employee
           had provided a Halba  Scheduled  Tribe  Certificate  and  gained
           employment in 1989 which was invalidated by the Scheduled  Tribe
           Scrutiny  Committee  leading   to   the   termination   of   the
           Respondent’s service by an order dated 4.2.2002.   Drawing  from
           the previous decision  in  Milind  this  Court  reiterated  that
           Scheduled Tribe status had not been conferred  either  on  Halba
           Koshti or Koshti but on ‘Halba’ alone.  
This Court,  thus,  once
           again protected the employment of the Respondent  but  clarified
           that he would not be entitled to claim further promotion in  the
           Scheduled  Tribe  category.   
It  was  also  declared  that  the
           Government  Resolution  dated  30.6.2004  would  apply  to   all
           employment  with  the  “government/semi-government  and  Boards,
           Municipalities,  Municipal  Corporations,   District   Councils,
           Cooperative Banks, government undertakings, etc.”
        4. Almost one year later this very question, which  has  led  to  a
           deluge of litigation already, received the attention of a Three-
           Judge Bench in Dattatray.
The Respondent, claiming to belong to
           the  Scheduled  Tribe  ‘Halba’,  was  appointed   as   Assistant
           Professor of Psychiatry in G.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi against
           a post reserved for Scheduled Tribes.  
A  verification  of  the
           Certificate of Scheduled Tribe disclosed that he did not  belong
           to the Halba Tribe.  
The  second  challenge  to  this  finding,
           before the High Court, also proved to be  futile.  
However,  on
           what  has  been  held  to  be  a  misinformed  reading  of   the
           Constitution Bench decision in Milind, the High Court thought it
           fit to protect his service.
The Three-Judge Bench  referred  to
           two other decisions of  this  Court  namely  Bank  of  India  v.
           Avinash D. Mandivikar (2005)  7  SCC  690  and  BHEL  v.  Suresh
           Ramkrishna Burde (2007) 5 SCC 336 and noting that  the  employee
           had  falsely  claimed  that  he  belonged   to   the   Scheduled
           Tribe/Halba, set aside the judgment of the High  Court.  
Whilst
           it permitted settlement of employee-Doctor’s  terminal  benefits
           it placed an embargo on his receiving any  pensionary  benefits.
         
This conclusion was arrived at by the Three-Judge Bench  without
           noting State of Maharashtra v. Sanjay K. Nimje (2007) 14 SCC 481
           where the impugned Order passed by the  Division  Bench  of  the
           High Court of Judicature at Bombay directing  the  reinstatement
           of a person belonging to the ‘Koshti’ Tribe, (not even  ‘Koshti-
           Halbas’) was set aside.
        5. It is evident that there is a plethora  of  precedents  on  this
           aspect of the law, and perhaps for this reason Counsel  for  the
           parties were remiss in drawing  our  attention  in  the  present
           proceedings to the detailed judgment
in Kavita Solunke v.  State of Maharashtra (2012) 8 SCC 430, in which one of us,  Thakur  J,
           had analysed  as  many  as  eleven  precedents  including  those
           discussed above.  After reviewing all the judgments it was held,
           in the facts and circumstances of that  case,  that  since  that
           party had not intentionally or with dishonest intent  fabricated
           particulars of a scheduled  tribe  with  a  view  to  obtain  an
           undeserved  benefit  in  the  matter  of  appointment,  she  was
           entitled to protection against ouster from service, but no other
           benefit.  In view of the comprehensive yet concise consideration
           of case law in Solunke, any  further  analysis  would  make  the
           present  determination  avoidably  prolix,  and  therefore   our
           endeavour will be to cull out  the  principles  which  would  be
           relevant for deciding suchlike conundrums.
 These are -
(a)  If
           any person has fraudulently claimed to  belong  to  a  Scheduled
           Caste or Scheduled Tribe and has thereby obtained employment, he
           would be disentitled from continuing in employment.  The  rigour
           of this conclusion has been diluted only in instances where  the
           Court is confronted with the case of students who  have  already
           completed their studies or are on the verge of doing so, towards
           whom sympathy is understandably extended;  
(b)  Where  there  is
           some  confusion  concerning  the  eligibility  to  the  benefits
           flowing from Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe status, such  as
           issuance of relevant certificates  to  persons  claiming  to  be
           ‘Koshtis’ or ‘Halba Koshtis’ under the  broadband  of  ‘Halbas’,
           protection of employment will be available with the  rider  that
           these  persons  will  thereafter  be  adjusted  in  the  general
           category thereby rendering them ineligible to  further  benefits
           in the category of Scheduled Caste or  Scheduled  Tribe  as  the
           case may be; 
(c) this benefit accrues from the decision of  this
           Court inter  alia  in  Raju  Ramsing  Vasave  v.  Mahesh  Deorao
           Bhivapurkar (2008) 9 SCC 54 which was rendered under Article 142
           of the Constitution of India. Realising the likely confusion  in
           the minds of even  honest  persons  the  Resolutions/Legislation
           passed by the State Governments should  spare  some  succour  to
           this section of persons.  This can be best  illustrated  by  the
           fact  that   it  was  in  Milind  that  the  Constitution  Bench
           clarified that ‘Koshtis’ or ‘Halba-Koshtis’ were not entitled to
           claim benefits as Scheduled Tribes and it was the ‘Halbas’ alone
           who were so entitled.  A perusal of the  judgment  in  Vilas  by
           Sirpurkar J, as  well  as  Solunke  makes  it  clear  that  this
           protection is available by  virtue  of  the  decisions  of  this
           Court; it is not exclusively or necessarily  predicated  on  any
           Resolution or Legislation of the State Legislature; 
(d) Where  a
           Resolution or Legislation exists,  its  raison  d’etre  is  that
           protection is justified in presenti  (embargo  on  removal  from
           service or  from  reversion)  but  not  in  futuro  (embargo  on
           promotions in the  category  of  Scheduled  Caste  or  Scheduled
           Tribe).
        6. A reading of the impugned Judgment requires  us  to  clarify  an
           important aspect of the doctrine of  precedence.   Dattatray  is
           the only Three-Judge Bench decision, and therefore  indisputably
           holds pre-eminence.  However, by that time several decisions had
           already been rendered by Two-Judge Benches some  of  which  have
           already been discussed above.  It was within the  competence  of
           Dattatray  Bench  to  overrule  the  other  Two-Judge   Benches.
           Despite the fact that it  has  not  done  so  the  per  incuriam
           principle would not apply to  the  decision  because  it  was  a
           larger Bench.  However, no presumption can  be  drawn  that  the
           Dattatray Three-Judge Bench decision was of the opinion that the
           earlier Two-Judge Bench decisions had articulated  an  incorrect
           interpretation of the law.  That being so, the  Two-Judge  Bench
           views may still be relied upon so long as the ratio of Dattatray
           is not directly in conflict with their ratios.  It is  therefore
           imperative to distill the ratio  of  Dattatray,  which  we  have
           already discussed  in  some  detail.   
We  need  only  reiterate
           therefore that the Three-Judge Bench  was  perceptibly  incensed
           with the falsity of the  claim  of  the  employee  to  Scheduled
           Caste/Scheduled Tribe status.
That  was  not  a  case  where  a
           legitimate claim of consanguinity to a ‘Halba Koshti’,  ‘Koshti’
           or ‘Gadwal  Koshti’  etc.  had  been  made,  which  was  at  the
           inception  point  considered  to  be  eligible   to   beneficial
           treatment admissible to Scheduled Tribes, later to  be  reversed
           by the Constitution Bench decision in Milind and declared to  be
           the entitlement of Halbas only.
It is not the intent of law  to
           punish an innocent person and subject  him  to  extremely  harsh
           treatment.
That is why this Court has devised and  consistently
           followed that taxation statutes, which almost always work to the
           pecuniary detriment of the  assessee,  must  be  interpreted  in
           favour of the assessee.  
Therefore, as we see it, on one bank of
           the Rubicon are the cases of dishonest  and  mendacious  persons
           who  have  deliberately  claimed  consanguinity  with  Scheduled
           Castes or Scheduled Tribes etc. 
whereas on the  other  bank  are
           those marooned persons who honestly  and  correctly  claimed  to
           belong to a particular Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe but  were
           later on found by the relevant Authority not to fall within  the
           particular group envisaged  for  protected  treatment.   In  the
           former group, persons would justifiably  deserve  the  immediate
           cessation of all benefits, including  termination  of  services.
         
In the  latter,  after  the  removal  of  the  nebulousness  and
           uncertainty, while the  services  or  benefits  already  enjoyed
           would not be negated, they would be  disentitled  to  claim  any
           further or continuing benefit on the predication of belonging to
           the said Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe.
        7. We  must  now  reflect  upon  the  Government  Resolution  dated
           15.6.1995 passed by the Government of Maharashtra.  Virtually it
           grants status quo as regards employment inasmuch  as  it  states
           that those persons who, on  the  basis  of  Caste  Certificates,
           already stand appointed or promoted in the Government  or  Semi-
           Government, shall  not  be  demoted  or  removed  from  service.
           Thereafter, the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled  Tribes,
           De-notified  Tribes,  (Vimukta  Jatis)  Nomadic  Tribes,   Other
           Backward Classes and Special Backward  Category  (Regulation  of
           Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Act,  2000  (for
           short, ‘2000 Act’) was passed by the  Legislature  and  received
           the assent of the President.  Section 10 thereof reads thus :

           “10. Benefits secured on the basis of false Caste Certificate to
           be withdrawn.
                 (1) Whoever not being a person belonging  to  any  of  the
           Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Tribes  (Vimukta
           Jatis),  Nomadic  Tribes,  Other  Backward  Classes  of  Special
           Backward Category secures admission in any education institution
           against a seat reserved for such Castes, Tribes or  Classes,  or
           secures any appointment in the Government, local authority or in
           any other company or corporation, owned  or  controlled  by  the
           Government  or  in  any  Government  aided  institution  or  co-
           operative society against  a  post  reserved  for  such  Castes,
           Tribes or Classes by producing a false Caste Certificate  shall,
           on  cancellation  of  the  Caste  Certificate  by  the  Scrutiny
           Committee,  be  liable  to  be  debarred  from   the   concerned
           educational institution, or as the case may be, discharged  from
           the said employment forthwith and any other benefits enjoyed  or
           derived by virtue of  such  admission  or  appointment  by  such
           person as aforesaid shall be withdrawn forthwith.
                 (2) Any amount paid to such person by  the  Government  or
           any other agency by way  of  scholarship,  grant,  allowance  or
           other financial benefit shall be recovered from such  person  as
           an arrears of land revenue.
                 (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in any Act for  the
           time  being  in  force,  any  Degree,  Dilploma  or  any   other
           educational qualification acquired by such person after securing
           admission in any educational institution on the basis of a Caste
           Certificate which is subsequently proved to be false shall  also
           stand cancelled, on cancellation of such  Caste  Certificate  by
           the Scrutiny Committee.
                 (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for  the
           time being in force, a person shall be disqualified for being  a
           member of any statutory body if he has  contested  the  election
           for local authority, co-operative society or any statutory  body
           on the seat reserved for  any  of  Scheduled  Castes,  Scheduled
           Tribes, De-notified  Tribes  (Vimukta  Jatis),  Nomadic  Tribes,
           Other  Backward  Classes  or  Special  Backaward   Category   by
           procuring a false Caste Certificate as belonging to such  Caste,
           Tribe or Class on such false Caste Certificate  being  cancelled
           by the Scrutiny Committee, and any  benefits  obtained  by  such
           person shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue  and  the
           election of such person shall be deemed to have been  terminated
           retrospectively.”



      In essence, the Section cancels with pre-emptive  effect  any  benefit
      that may have been  derived  by  a  person  based  on  a  false  caste
      certificate.  Whilst “Caste Certificate” has been defined  in  Section
      2(a) of the 2000 Act, “False Caste Certificate”  has  not  been  dealt
      with in the  Definitions  clause.   There  is  always  an  element  of
      deceitfulness,  in  order  to  derive  unfair  or  undeserved  benefit
      whenever a false statement or representation or stand  is  adopted  by
      the person concerned.  An innocent statement which later transpires to
      be incorrect may be seen as false in general sense would normally  not
      attract punitive or detrimental consequences on the person making  it,
      as it is one made by error.   An  untruth  coupled  with  a  dishonest
      intent however requires legal retribution.   It  appears  to  us  that
      Section 10 applies in the Dattatray mould only.  It was obviously  for
      this reason that in Vilas, Sema J, was of the opinion  that  the  2000
      Act did not apply to the facts before it whereas  Sirpurkar  J,  after
      concurring with Sema J, granted protection albeit under Article 142 of
      the Constitution of India.  In Nimje another Two-Judge Bench held that
      Government Resolution dated 15.6.1995 would  continue  to  apply  even
      after the passing of the 2000 Act so long as the appointment had taken
      place prior to 1995.  There is,  therefore,  palpable  wisdom  in  the
      Office Memorandum dated 10.8.2010 of the Government of India, Ministry
      of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of  Personnel
      & Training to the effect that “it has been decided  that  the  persons
      belonging to the  ‘Halba  Koshti/Koshti’  caste  who  got  appointment
      against vacancies reserved for the Scheduled Tribes on  the  basis  of
      Scheduled  Tribe  certificates,  issued  to  them  by  the   competent
      authority, under the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order,  1950  (as
      amended from time to time) relating to the State  of  Maharashtra  and
      whose appointments had become final on or before 28.11.2000, shall not
      be affected.  However, they shall not get any benefit  of  reservation
      after 28.11.2000.”
     8. The Appellant before us has been in service since 6.11.1981 on  the
        strength of her claim of consanguinity to ‘Halba  Scheduled  Tribe’
        duly predicated on a  Certificate  dated  8.7.1974  issued  by  the
        Competent Authority.
Avowedly  she  was  appointed  in  a  vacancy
        earmarked against the Scheduled Tribe category.  She was  confirmed
        as Assistant Teacher with effect from 1.1.1984.   Respondent  nos.1
        and  2,  by  order  dated  17.9.1989  appointed  the  Appellant  as
        Assistant Head Mistress.
Thereafter on 28.4.1994 she was  promoted
        as Head Mistress by an order of even date, subject to production of
        Caste Validity Certificate.
It is not clear when  the  certificate
        produced by the  Appellant  was  referred  to  the  Caste  Scrutiny
        Committee, Nagpur for verification, but the said Committee by Order
        dated 20.8.2003 held it to be invalid.  
The learned Single Judge of
        the High Court  of  Judicature  at  Bombay,  Nagpur  Bench  granted
        protection in service on the basis of Government  Resolution  dated
        15.6.1995 by his order dated 2.9.2003 in Writ Petition  No.3500  of
        2003.
Protracted litigation thereafter ensued eventually resulting
        in the filing of another Writ Petition No.4532 of 2004 in  which  a
        learned Single Judge  by  order  dated  11.11.2009  set  aside  the
        reinstatement order passed by the  School  Tribunal,  Nagpur  which
        came to be affirmed by the Division Bench  in  the  impugned  Order
        which was of the opinion that Dattatray prohibited the extension of
        any protection to the Appellant.  Having come to  that  conclusion,
        the Division Bench did not  think  it  necessary  to  consider  the
        plethora  of  precedents,  albeit  of   Two-Judge   Benches   where
        protection had in fact been granted.  Be that as it may,  we  think
        that since there was no falsity in the claim of the  Appellant  and
        therefore that she cannot be viewed as having filed a ‘false’ Caste
        Certificate, the rigours of Section 10 of the 2000  Act  would  not
        apply to her case.  A perusal of the Order of the  Scheduled  Tribe
        Caste Certificate Committee, Nagpur shows that  the  Committee  was
        satisfied that her claim  to  the  caste  of  ‘Gadwal  Koshti’  was
        correct but that she did not belong  to  ‘Halba’  Scheduled  Tribe.
        Government Resolution dated 15.6.1995  specifically  declares  that
        the following were  basically  backward  in  social,  economic  and
        educational viewpoint and were therefore “special  backward  class”
        vide Government Resolution dated 7.12.1994 :
           “Sr. No.   Name of the Caste
                1.          …. …. …. ….
                2.          …. …. …. ….
                3.          (1) Koshti (2) Halba Koshti (3) Halba Caste (4)
                      Sali (5) Ladkoshti (6) Gadwal Koshti (7)  Deshkar  (8)
                      Salewar (9) Padmashali (10) Dwang  (11)  Kachi  Dhande
                      (Glass occupation) (12) Patwos (13) Satpal  (14)  Sade
                      (15) Dhankoshti.”
                                                   [Emphasis supplied]
     9. It requires specialised bodies such as Caste  Scrutiny  Committees,
        specialised lawyers, seasoned bureaucrats etc.  to  decipher  which
        category a relatively backward,  or  ostracized  or  tribal  person
        falls in.  Can it therefore seriously be contended  that  a  person
        who  has  honestly,  in  contradistinction  with  falsely,  claimed
        consanguinity with a certain group which was later on found not  to
        belong to an envisaged Scheduled Tribe but to  a  special  backward
        class be visited with termination of her employment?  We think that
        that is not the intent of the law, and certainly was not  what  the
        Three-Judge  Bench  was  confronted  with  in  Dattatray.   In  our
        opinion, therefore, the Appellant should have  been  debarred  from
        any further advantage that would enure to persons belonging to  the
        ‘Halba’ Tribe.
    10. Accordingly, we direct reinstatement of the  Appellant  in  service
        but without any back  wages.   With  the  passage  of  time  it  is
        possible that there may be another incumbent as  Head  Mistress  of
        the Respondent No.1-School and  we  think  that  it  would  not  be
        equitable to remove such  person.   However,  if  this  post  falls
        vacant before the  Appellant  reaches  the  age  of  retirement  or
        superannuation she shall be re-appointed to that post but  with  no
        further promotion as a Scheduled  Tribe  candidate  unless  she  is
        otherwise entitled as a  special  backward  class  candidate.   The
        Appeal stands disposed of  accordingly.   The  parties  shall  bear
        their respective costs.


      ............................................J.
                                             [T.S. THAKUR]





      ............................................J.
                                             [VIKRAMAJIT SEN]
      New Delhi
      December  12, 2013.

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