Ker HC | When petitioner has produced prima facie materials to show that she belongs to SC community, respondents cannot brush aside the claim without a proper enquiry; impugned order set aside

Kerala High Court: N.Nagaresh J., while allowing the present petition and directing consequential benefits, held, “…it is evident that the 2nd respondent has not made any serious attempt to honestly study the anthropological history of the petitioner. No enquiry worth mentioning was made to find out as to the year of migration of the petitioner’s grandparents from Tamil Nadu to Kerala.”

Background

According to the petitioner, her paternal ancestors belonged to ‘‘Puthirai Vannan’’ community and migrated from Tamil Nadu to Kerala before 1930 and settled at Moongalar Estate, Idukki District. As per the Constitution Scheduled Castes Order, the community Puthirai Vannan is a Scheduled Caste in both the States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Document in support of the said averment was dutifully attached. The petitioner’s mother belonged to Nair Community. Father was employed in Harrison Company and was transferred to Wayanad. The family was residing in Wayanad District ever since. The petitioner’s father purchased the property in Wayanad District utilizing funds made available to members of the Scheduled Caste. For the sale deed, stamp duty was exempted since the petitioner’s father belonged to Scheduled Caste. The petitioner has been continuously enjoying the benefits available to the members of the Scheduled Castes since her birth. In the year 2018, the petitioner applied for the Medical Entrance Examination. The Screening Committee suspected veracity of community certificate issued to the petitioner by the Tahsildar and referred the issue to the Vigilance Cell of the Screening Committee. The Screening Committee as per Section 6 of Kerala (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Regulation of Issue of Community Certificates Act, 1996 rejected the Scheduled Caste claim of the petitioner. Invoking Section 6(2) of the Act, 1996, the Screening Committee rejected the application of the petitioner for admission to Professional Degree Courses, 2018. With subsequent petitions being rejected against the aforementioned order of the Screening Committee, the petitioner has approached the present Court.

 Observations

Whether petitioner’s claim of belonging to a family bearing Scheduled Caste identity justified?

Court observed, “There are sufficient materials to show that the petitioner’s father was admitted in a school in the year 1974 showing that he belongs to Scheduled Caste community. For the last 46 years, the petitioner’s father, the petitioner and her siblings were treated as Scheduled Caste and were extended the benefits available to the community. When the petitioner has produced prima facie materials to show that she belongs to Scheduled Caste as her grandparents migrated to Kerala much before 1950, the respondents cannot brush aside the claim without a proper enquiry and study.”

 Decision

While allowing the present petition, Court sets aside the impugned orders by the Screening Committee, in addition to granting of consequential benefits.[Anjana C. v. State of Kerala,  2021 SCC OnLine Ker 168, decided on 04-01-2021]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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