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Jobs of over 50,000 state govt employees on the line

Thursday, June 14, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

Jobs were allegedly obtained under ‘SC/ST/VJNT/OBC’ categories after submission of fake caste certificates by some employees in the last three decades

The jobs of over 50,000 state government employees, who had allegedly submitted fake caste certificates to secure jobs, are at stake despite Maharashtra Government’s fresh GR to accommodate them in “open category” till the time the matter is finally resolved.

In response to a petition filed by “the Organization for the Rights of Tribals (OFROT)”, a division bench comprising Justices Bhushan Gavai and Z A Haq of Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has stayed the GR dated June 5, 2018, issued by the state government and has posted the matter for further hearing on July 9, 2018.

The petitioners pointed out that the Supreme Court by its judgements dated July 6, 2017 and April 13, 2018, had already ruled against the decision to allow those who have obtained jobs based on fake caste certificates. The SC had ruled that the jobs of employees who submitted invalid caste certificates could not be protected at any cost and had directed state governments to initiate action against such employees immediately.

With no action taken, OFROT sent a legal notice warning the state government that they would file a contempt petition in the SC, if the guilty employees were not sacked. Subsequently it filed the present petition, challenging the government's decision to accommodate all such employees in “open category” and to set up a cabinet sub-committee to study the matter. OFROT has termed the move as “unconstitutional” and has demanded that the above GR be scrapped.

In response to the petition, the court has directed the state government to file affidavits of secretaries after taking stock of the employees placed in different departments, with fake certificates.

The jobs were obtained under “SC/ST/VJNT/OBC” categories by submitting fake caste certificates by some of the employees in the last three decades. In ST category alone there are over 82,000 candidates, of which nearly 52,000 candidates have submitted certificates and the rest are yet to submit their certificates for verification, to the caste validation committee(CVC). The cases of nearly 11,000 candidates are pending before the CVC.

Basically, the Maharashtra government had issued a resolution in June 1995, for the first time, giving protection to such employees. The government had decided to shift the employees recruited after the 1995-GR to their respective categories after their caste certificates proved to be invalid. In October 2015, the government issued a fresh GR extending the deadline of 1995’s GR till date. The GRs, however, were quashed by various court orders.

Since the issue has a Pan India ramification, the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, instructed the Governments on March 20, 2007 to take corrective action. In 2010, the Central Government came across information that 1,832 appointments were allegedly secured on the basis of fake/false caste certificates in different state governments as well as, central government offices. Subsequently, disciplinary proceedings were instituted in 276 cases like suspension/removal etc. However, 521 cases were entangled into litigations. In remaining 1,035 cases disciplinary proceedings were pending. The ministry issued similar communication on January 10, 2013 and again on March 14, 2016 reiterating action against the erring employees.

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