BENGALURU: Expressing displeasure over the state government for protecting employees who have obtained jobs based on false caste certificates, the High Court ruled that the state governments, state legislature and the central government are not vested with the power to tinker with the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
The court upheld the show-cause notice issued by banks, including State Bank of Mysore and Canara Bank, subsequent to the directions issued by the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement (DCRE) to remove such employees from service. Justice R Devdas said it is high time that the political class/lawmakers understand that the state governments do not have the power to tinker with the presidential order.
“It is parliament alone that is empowered by law to include or exclude any caste, race or tribe from the list of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. Whatever be the intention behind such circulars or Government orders, it is advisable to learn from past experiences - that more damage is caused than any benefit from such executive orders,” Justice Devdas said while referring to the circulars issued by the state government. The court said it would be necessary to observe that had the authorities, including the DCRE, taken prompt action, several such persons who had obtained employment on the basis of false caste claims could have been removed.
The HC made it clear that the show-cause notices issued by the respondent (banks) cannot be interfered with. The authorities are directed to proceed further. In respect with petitioners who have attained the age of superannuation and have since retired, action initiated by the authorities for their dismissal cannot be taken into consideration. Where the petitioners were dismissed, the action of the authorities and orders of dismissal are upheld, it said.
H R Sumangala, State Bank of Mysore, Bengaluru, and several others working in different banks, filed the petition before the High Court. They joined the bank during various periods, commencing from 1979 to 1982.
They were appointed on the basis of caste certificates, they claimed they belonged to ‘Kotegar community’, this according to the petitioners includes the caste ‘Rama Kshatriya’, which is a synonym of ‘Kotegar community’.
The ‘Kotegar community’, in terms of the Presidential notification is a Scheduled Caste.