BANGALORE: The High Court has asked the state government to prosecute those who have managed to get central or state government jobs using fake caste certificate.
Justice Narayana Swamy, in his order, said that any person who has obtained appointment either in the State or the Central government by producing a false caste certificate, and if it is found that the person has made undue gains, then the person should be prosecuted.
The court was hearing a petition filed by six farmers who were accused of having obtained fake caste certificates through a Nemmadi Kendra, a citizen services centre.
The accused had allegdly obtained benefits under Swarna Bhoomi scheme, launched specially for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, using fake certificates.
The high court order came in the wake of instances of misuse of an order of the Supreme Court and a notification issued by the government.
In 2002, the Supreme Court directed the government not to take action against those who had obtained fake caste certificates. Following this, the state government issued a notification asking its officials not to prosecute people who surrender their fake certificates.
The farmers contended that when the tahsildar initiated action, they surrendered the certificates and returned the money they had got from the government. Hence, they sought to set aside their prosecution.
The farmers had relied on the Apex Court directive and notification of the state government. They also contended that the High Court had, in several earlier cases, quashed proceeding against those who had obtained fake certificates.
Justice Narayana Swamy noted that the Supreme Court directive cannot be applied in all cases. Moreover, the judge held that the notification was restricted to only certain communities or groups and immunity from prosecution was not available to all.
The court, while clearing the air on prosecuting violators, observed that the government had not defended its case properly. The court also observed that due to failure on part of the government, several petitions seeking quashing of such cases had been allowed.