Madurai Bench of Madras HC imposes Rs 10K cost on RDO for arbitrary rejection of woman's plea
The judges directed the official to pay the amount to the legal services authority of the high court bench.
MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court recently imposed a Rs 10,000 cost on a revenue divisional officer from Tiruchy for 'arbitrarily' rejecting a woman's application seeking a community certificate for her children. The woman belonged to the Kattunayakkan community (Scheduled Tribe), while her husband belonged to Pallar community (Scheduled Caste). She had filed an online application in October 2022, seeking Kattunayakkan community certificate for her children after giving a declaration that she would never seek any benefits under her husband's community. But her application was rejected by the official a week later, challenging which she filed two petitions before the HC bench.
A Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Krishnakumar, who heard the petitions, observed, "The official, having been entrusted with the solemn obligation to redress the grievance of the citizens, appears to have neglected the said duty." They referred to two GOs passed by the state government in 1975 and 2021 -- which say that children born out of marriage between parents of two different castes shall be considered to belong to either the caste of the father or the caste of the mother based on the declaration of the parents -- and said the official ought to have been aware of the said GOs and should have disposed of the petitioner's application by ascertaining the petitioner's community.
But, without realising that arbitrary refusal of genuine prayer (request or application) would result in unnecessary litigation, the official had rejected the petitioner's application, they added and imposed a Rs 50,000 cost on the official, which was later reduced to Rs 10,000 following the request of the additional government pleader. The judges directed the official to pay the amount to the legal services authority of the high court bench. They further directed the official to consider the petitioner's application afresh and take a decision in accordance with the law.