The Supreme Court on Thursday said that people securing government jobs or seats in educational institution in the reserved category on the basis of fake caste certificates would lose them.
A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice N.V. Ramana said that using fake caste certificate for getting government job or admission in educational institution in the reserved category can't survive just on the length of time that has gone by.
Speaking for the bench, Justice Chandrachud said: "Usurpation of constitutional benefits by persons who are not entitled to them must be answered by the court in the only way permissible for an institution which has to uphold the rule of law."
"Unless the courts were to do so, it would leave open a path of incentives for claims based on fraud to survive legal gambits and the creativity of the disingenuous."
The court said that the "withdrawal of benefits secured on the basis of a caste claim which has been found to be false and is invalidated is a necessary consequence which flows from the invalidation of the caste claim and no issue of retrospectivity would arise."
"The fault-lines of our system, be it in education, health or law, are that its lethargy and indolence furnish incentives for the few who choose to break the rules to gain an unfair advantage," the judgment said.
"In such a situation, the court as a vital institution of democratic governance must be firm in sending out a principled message that there is no incentive other than for behaviour compliant with rules and deviance will meet severe reprimand of the law."
Citing the intense competition for admission to medical education for a bright future, the court said: "There is intense competition for a limited number of under-graduate, post-graduate and super-speciality seats. This can furnish no justification for recourse to unfair means including adopting a false claim to belong to the reserved category."
Referring to the argument that that the withdrawal of educational qualification or an admission taken on the basis of fake certificate would result in "loss of productive societal resources", the court said that situation "cannot possibly outweigh or nullify the legislative mandate ... of the state legislation".
The apex court judgment reversed the verdict of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court which had held that if a person is in service for a long time and later it surfaces that he had got it on the basis of bogus caste certificate, then he can be allowed to continue in the service, said Maharashtra government counsel Nishant Katnewswarkar.
The top court judgment came on a batch of petitions including one by Maharashtra government and the Food Corporation of India's Chairman and Managing Director.
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