MADURAI: Criticising a scrutiny committee for cancelling the community certificate of a Scheduled Caste woman on the assumption that she converted to Christianity, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court quashed the cancellation order, and advised the committee to deal with such matters with a broad mindset in the future.
Hearing the petition filed by a woman doctor from Ramanathapuram, a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice M Duraiswamy, noted that the committee had assumed that she converted to Christianity, because she had married a Christian and also displayed a ‘cross’ symbol at her clinic.
“It is possible that the petitioner accompanied her husband and children for Sunday matins, but the mere fact that a person goes to church does not mean that he or she has altogether abandoned their original faith. The conduct of the officials reveals a certain degree of narrow-mindedness which our Constitution does not encourage. Nothing may be presumed upon a member of a particular community respecting another community or another religion and, indeed, that is the Constitutional mandate and not otherwise,” the Chief Justice observed.
Holding that the officials took the decision without proof, the judges quashed the cancellation order and ordered restoration of the petitioner’s community certificate. Earlier, the government counsel had cited a notification passed in 2015, and argued that the petitioner could have moved an appeal before the government department concerned instead of approaching the High Court.
However, the judges pointed out that as per a G.O. passed by the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department in 2007 for formation of the scrutiny committee, the petitioner was right in approaching the High Court. According to the G.O, appeal against decisions taken by such committees could only be filed before the High Court and Supreme Court.