HC Rescinds Order to Cancel DC Anantnag Category ST Certificates
posted on April 22, 2022 | Author Syed Rukaya
Srinagar, April 21: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Thursday ordered the relevant authority to investigate whether the person claiming the benefit of the reservation as a member of the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community actually belongs to this community or not.
Rescinding the order made by the Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag regarding the cancellation of the ST category certificates, the court ordered the authorities that the applicants be entitled to all the benefits emanating from the said certificates.
Once the competent authority found a person belonging to a particular ST community, the court held, the wearing of a different surname by such a person would be irrelevant.
While conducting an investigation to find out the status of a person claiming to be a member of the ST community, the court ordered the competent authority not to travel beyond the scope of clause (iv) of the Rule 21 of the Booking Rules 2005.
Pursuant to clause (iv) of Rule 21 of the Reservation Rules, a person claiming a benefit on the basis of belonging to a Scheduled Tribe community must produce an extract of Jamabandi in respect of the members of the tribes, who possess of land and an election roll or Chullhabandi or ration card in respect of landless members of the tribes. The production of identity cards or grazing cards issued by the Forestry Department or revenue agencies to landless members of the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities is further evidence to this end.
Court of Justice Sanjeev Kumar adopted the instructions in two petitions, one filed by Irfan Ahmad Khan Gujjar and his brothers, who reside in Dedoo Marhama, Bijbehara, Anantnag, challenging the order issued by the Deputy Commissioner of ‘Anantnag on May 6th. 2019 canceling the ST category certificates issued in favor of the applicants.
While another was filed by the Gujjar and Bakerwal community through Javaid Ahmad Dehdar asking the government to strictly respect and enforce the reservation policy and refrain from issuing ST category certificates to people other than those belonging to the Gujjar and Bakerwal community.
The court, however, left open the possibility for the appeal authority under the J&K Reservations Act 2004 and rules thereunder to act under section 18 of the act, either suo moto , or upon application by any aggrieved person, including a bona fide member of the Gujjar Community provided there is prima facie evidence before the appeal authority to doubt the authenticity and admissibility of the certificate of category ST issued by the competent authority in favor of the applicants.