Mumbai: Voicing its concern over the rising number of pending applications for validation of caste certificates of government employees, the Bombay High Court recently directed the Chief Secretary (CS) to personally look into the issue. The HC has also asked the to ensure that the validation work is expedited on a priority basis.
A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Zaka Haq recently took a note of the piling backlog of such pleas while hearing a batch of petitions of few clerks from the Thane Collector’s office, whose services were terminated.
The judges while setting aside the orders of Thane Collector, said, “In any case, the impugned orders have far reaching civil consequences and in our view the Collector should have caused inquiry before resorting to the drastic step of terminating the services of the petitioners.”
Justice Patil said, “We find that there are number of cases pending before the concerned Scrutiny Committee. The government, its departments and officers are facing difficulties as compliances are not made by the employees in respect of their caste verification claim. The orders of the Scrutiny Committee are not placed before the employer and the consequences are that the employee continues to be in service for months and years together. It is necessary that within reasonable time verification of caste claim needs to be decided.”
The judges accordingly held that it is necessary for the government to discuss this issue at the highest possible level so that its recruitment process is streamlined. The judges also considered the fact that termination of services, results in embarrassment to the employees.
Justice Patil said, “It is needless to mention that disruption of services abruptly by way of termination causes lot of embarrassment to the employees, which affects their life, career. By adopting suitable method, such situation could be avoided. The State, its departments, officers would certainly follow some reasonable procedure in this regard.”
The judges have even suggested that the government while handing over the appointment letter, could issue a ‘pro-forma’ form to the candidates that are to be appointed in reserved posts, so that simultaneously, the Scrutiny Committee can verify the candidate’s caste certificate and give its findings in time.
“Instead of fastening the responsibility totally on the employees to secure Caste Validity Certificate within six months, the government and its departments shall also take the responsibility to supervise the process of forwarding the applications to the concerned Scrutiny Committee and maintain the record of further progress in the matters relating to caste scrutiny of the candidates/employees,” Justice Patil suggested.
Accordingly, the judges directed the Chief Secretary to take stock of the situation and issue appropriate instructions to the concerned departments through General Administration Department of the State.