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Pokala Suresh Kumar v/s Government of Telangana, Revenue Department, rep. by its Prl.Secretary, Telangana Secretariat, Hyderabad & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- M SURESH COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U36910MH2004PTC149806

Company & Directors' Information:- A. KUMAR AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U19201UP1995PTC018833

Company & Directors' Information:- S KUMAR & CO PVT LTD [Not available for efiling] CIN = U51909WB1946PTC014540

Company & Directors' Information:- S KUMAR AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U45203DL1964PTC117149

Company & Directors' Information:- KUMAR (INDIA) PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1986PTC041038

Company & Directors' Information:- P KUMAR & CO PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U27105WB1998PTC087242

Company & Directors' Information:- KUMAR L P G PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U23201DL2001PTC113203

Company & Directors' Information:- M KUMAR AND CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U18101DL1982PTC014823

Company & Directors' Information:- SURESH AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51900MH1941PTC003295

Company & Directors' Information:- B N KUMAR & CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U52341WB1941PTC010643

    Writ Petition No. 12003 of 2020

    Decided On, 13 August 2020

    At, High Court of for the State of Telangana

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P. NAVEEN RAO

    For the Petitioner: G. Vidya Sagar, Senior Counsel representing K. Udaya Sri, Advocate. For the Respondents: Govt. Pleader.



Judgment Text


1. Heard learned Senior Counsel Sri G.Vidyasagar representing learned counsel for the petitioner and learned Government pleader appearing for the respondents.

2. Claiming that petitioner belonged to Mannervarlu caste which is notified as the Scheduled Tribe, he secured employment as clerk in Defence Accounts Department, on 26.10.1995. He later earned promotion and presently working in the cadre of Senior Accounts Officer. While so, on 25.11.2016, a complaint lodged alleging that petitioner do not belong to Scheduled Tribe and that he made false claim to secure public employment. Responding to the said complaint, the matter was considered by the District Collector. The District Collector referred the complaint to the District Scrutiny Committee headed by the Joint Collector. Hearings were conducted by the District Scrutiny Committee, where petitioner appeared and made his submissions. Simultaneously, the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare also conducted Inquiry. Petitioner also appeared before the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare. It appears the Commissioner drawn up his report on 06.01.2020 and forwarded it to the District Collector. The District Scrutiny Committee also submitted its report on 25.02.2020. Based on the said two reports, the District Collector passed orders on 17.03.2020 canceling the Scheduled Tribe caste certificate issued to the petitioner. This order is passed in exercise of power vested in him under Section 5 of the Telangana (SC/ST/BC) Regulation of Issue of Community Certificate Act, 1993 (for short ‘the Act’). Petitioner challenges this decision of District Collector in this writ petition.

3. According to learned Senior Counsel, the decision of District Collector is not sustainable on the following grounds :

Firstly, the procedure as required by the Act and Rules was not followed. No document was furnished to petitioner; secondly even assuming that proper procedure was followed, the District Collector has to cause notice on the petitioner by supplying reports of the District Scrutiny Committee and in the present case in addition, the report of the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare, call for explanation of the petitioner, consider the explanation and take a decision as warranted by law; and thirdly it is contended that after submission of explanation offered by the petitioner it is mandatory for the District Collector to apply his mind independently and on due consideration of the material on record, come to conclusion on the validity of the caste certificate issued to the petitioner by assigning reasons in support of the decision, whereas in the case on hand none of these parameters are satisfied and therefore, the order on the face of it, is not sustainable and is liable to be set aside.

4. According to learned Senior Counsel the contentions urged by him are supported by the decisions rendered by this Court in Jadhav Rekoba Vs Government of A.P. (2009 (2) ALD 296) and K.Suraj Singh Vs Collector and District Magistrate, Kadapa and Others (2011) SCC online AP 410), on the scope of Section 5 of the Act and in view of the settled principle of law, the decision of the District Collector without following due procedure cancelling the caste certificate issued in favour of the petitioner is ex-facie illegal.

5. Learned Government Pleader do not dispute the fact that prior notice and opportunity was not afforded to the petitioner and that the reports which were the basis for the District Collector to cancel the caste certificate issued in favour of the petitioner were not communicated to the petitioner before acting upon the said reports and issuing impugned order.

6. The order cancelling the caste certificate results in civil and evil consequences. It affects a person’s social status and also employment and can result in launching prosecution. Thus, before taking such decision it is elementary to comply with all procedural aspects of decision making process. Section 5 of the Act requires the District Collector to apply his mind independently before arriving at a decision. The report of the District Scrutiny Committee, and in this case also the report of the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare, would aid the District Collector to take a decision. However, as these authorities have given adverse reports against petitioner, before acting on said reports, he must be given opportunity to raise his objections. On considering the objections, if any made, the District Collector should take a decision but can not mechanically endorse the recommendations in the reports. The scope of Section 5 of the Act and the requirements to afford opportunity of hearing after the reports of the District Scrutiny Committee were considered and explained by this Court in several precedent decisions cited at the bar. Thus, there is no ambiguity on affording such opportunity. In the above analysis, the decision making process leading to the cancellation of the caste certificate of the petitioner is vitiated and is not sustainable.

7. As rightly contended by learned Senior Counsel once a decision is made by the District Collector holding the caste certificate as not valid, the employer is entitled to remove the petitioner from service without further notice and opportunity and thus, petitioner would be deprived of his employment even before due procedure was observed and a decision as warranted by law was taken.

8. The petitioner’s primary grievance to institute this writ petition was that he preferred appeal and also sought interlocutory order, but the appellate authority has not passed orders on his interlocutory application whereas there is threat of employer taking action under Section 11 of the Act to remove the petitioner from service and in such a case, grave prejudice would be caused to the petitioner. As the order of District Collector is ex-facie illegal, petitioner cannot be made to suffer social status and removal from service.

9. However, what is pointed out by learned Senior Counsel on non-compliance of Section 5 of the Act goes to the root of the matter and the Court is convinced that the order of District Collector is not sustainable primarily on the ground of non-compliance of Section 5 of the Act as held by this Court in the precedent decisions. Learned Government pleader was asked to get instructions as to whether the matter can be remanded to the District Collector by setting aside his order, impugned in this writ petition without relegating the petitioner to prosecute the remedy of appeal.

10. Having regard to the provision in Section 5 of the Act and the principle laid down by this Court in several decisions, learned Government Pleader fairly submits that the matter can be remanded to the District Collector to the stage of submission of reports by the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare and the District Scrutiny Committee and to proceed there from.

11. In view of the said fair submission of learned Government Pleader detailed reasons are not recorded.

12. The order impugned is set aside and the matter is remanded to the District Collector, to the stage of consideration of reports of the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare and the District Scrutiny Committee on the social status of the petitioner. The District Collector shall cause notice on the petitioner enclosing the two reports and give sufficient opportunity to the petitioner to respond to the reports of the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare and the District Scrutiny Committee. On due consideration of the explanation offered by the petitioner, shall pass orders as warranted by law, by assigning reasons in support of the decision.

13. While issuing show cause notice enclosing copies of the reports of the District Scrutiny Committee and the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare, he shall specify time to file explanation. The petitioner shall file his explanati

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on within the time so specified. If any such explanation is filed within the time specified/extended time, if such extension is granted, the District Collector shall consider the reports and the explanation offered by the petitioner and shall pass orders, assigning reasons in support of the decision within a period of four (4) weeks from the date of submission of explanation. If no explanation is offered within the time specified, the District Collector, may pass orders, assigning reasons in support of the decision, on due consideration of material on record, within four weeks from the date of expiry of time specified to submit explanation. At any rate entire exercise shall be completed within three (3) months from the date of receipt of copy of this order. 14. Writ Petition is accordingly, allowed. Pending miscellaneous petitions, if any, shall stand closed.
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