Appointment on compassionate grounds for a reserved category post would not exempt the appointee from submitting a caste validity certificate especially if the original holder of the post didn't produce a caste certificate during his lifetime, ruled the Bombay High Court recently.
A three judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justices Ravendra Ghuge and Vibha Kankanwadi, at the Aurangabad bench, dismissed two petitions which sought directions to the Department of Rural Development to exempt the petitioners from producing a caste certificate since their appointment was on compassionate grounds.
The 30-page judgement was authored by Justice Ghuge. CJ Datta concurred with the judgment and added a separate 7-page note observing, “in our country, the dishonest spare no opportunity to obtain benefits and privileges which are not meant for them by fraud or deceit”.
“If an usurper of a public office for decades does not have any right to claim pensionary benefits, a fortiori, any dependent family member of such usurper of public office can have no better rights than him,” added CJ Datta.
According to the pleas, the petitioners were appointed on compassionate grounds after the death of their respective fathers – who were appointed on posts reserved for Scheduled Tribes. However, they had not submitted Tribal Validity Certificate during their appointments.
The petitioners were appointed by the Nanded Zilla Parishad on compassionate grounds with a condition that they would produce their Tribal Validity Certificate within six months of the appointment.
Hence, the petitioners filed two separate petitions challenging this.
Advocate Mahesh Deshmukh, who was appointed to assist the court, argued that a person, who is appointed to a reserved category post, has to submit a validity certificate. In case, he fails to do so, then his legal heir who is appointed on compassionate grounds after the father’s death, has to submit his validity certificate.
Petitioners’ advocate, CR Thorat¸ had contended although their fathers were appointed on reserved category posts, the petitioners’ appointment on compassionate grounds was not made against reserved category posts.
However, the court dismissed the claim stating that “a public office is not heritable” and the compassionate appointment is a policy matter.
CJ Datta said: “Any claim for a compassionate appointment has to be in accordance with the policy/guidelines framed in this behalf and cannot be claimed as a matter of right.”
The court further noted that reservation is intended to bring about the adequate representation of categories that are not adequately represented in the services as well as empowerment of the backward classes. CJ added, “Such policy can never produce the desired results if the reserved posts are occupied by persons other than those for whom they are set apart.”
The judges observed that the appointment of deceased persons could be held valid only if they had produced their validity certificate. Had the employer taken action against them during their lifetime, they would be out of service. So, the family members cannot take advantage of the illegal appointment just because the employees died.