New Delhi: Caste certificate issued to an
individual cannot be cancelled by the authorities without
granting an opportunity to the person to be heard, the Supreme
Court has held.
A bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R M Lodha, in
a judgement, said that not granting such an opportunity
amounts to violation of the "principles of natural justice,"
and such an order is liable to be set aside.
"It is an admitted position that before cancellation
of the caste certificate of the appellant, the authorities
ought to have given an opportunity of hearing to the
"In view of the fact that the principles of natural
justice were admittedly violated in this case, the impugned
order must be set aside and the concerned tehsildar must be
directed to decide the dispute regarding the caste certificate
of the appellant after giving hearing to the parties and after
passing a reasoned order, preferably within three months from
the date of supply of a copy of this order to him," it said.
The bench passed the observation while allowing an
appeal filed by the appellant Ramphal, a Haryana police
constable, challenging the decision of the authorities to
cancel his caste certificate.
According to Ramphal, he obtained employment on the
basis of a caste certificate produced by him establishing him
as a scheduled caste candidate belonging to the "Sirkiband"
However, on the basis of a complaint that he actually
belonged to the "Banjara" community which was not a notified
scheduled caste community, his caste certificate was cancelled
by the authorities.
Ramphal approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court
challenging the cancellation on the ground that no opportunity
was given to him to enable him present his side of the case.
The high court dismissed his plea following which he appealed
in the apex court.