Bhubaneswar: The Orissa SC, ST & OBC
(Regulation of Issuance and Verification) of Caste
Certificates Bill-2011, on Saturday got nod of the Group of
Ministers in Orissa.
"There was unanimity at the GOM meeting. The Bill will
be placed before the Cabinet soon before being introduced in
the assembly," Finance minister Prafulla Ghadai told
The Bill, placed before the Cabinet last week,
however, was deferred as most of the ministers opposed to the
provision of punishment in the Bill.
According to the Bill, the authority whoever
(including MLAs) was found issuing fake certificate will be
liable to rigorous imprisonment for a term of six months,
which may extend up to two years or fine of Rs 2,000 which
may go upto Rs 20,000 or with the both.
The ministers strongly opposed to the punishment for
issuance of fake certificate. Besides Revenue department
officials in the rank of tehsildar, MLAs also issue caste
certificates to the people at the time of their need.
As the MLAs have no mechanism for verification of
caste of a person, they should be spared from punishment, many
ministers had argued.
However, the GOM reached at a conclusion that there
could not be separate punishment for similar offence. If the
officials were being held liable for the offence of issuing
fake certificates as per provision of the Bill, the same
should be applied to MLAs also, the GOM observed.
The state government mooted the Bill in the wake of
the rising resentment among tribal population who alleged that
people belonging to other castes take benefits meant for them
by producing fake caste certificates.
Fake caste certificate was one of the factors that
flared up the ethno-communal violence in Kandhamal in 2008,
the officials at the SC-ST, OBC and Minorities development