The Madras High Court observed that the Revenue Authorities are not empowered to issue 'No Caste No Religion' certificate.

The Court observed that in absence of any such power conferred on the Tahsildar, the High Court also cannot issue directions to grant such certificates by exercising its powers on judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The bench also referred to a Government Order stating that it is the discretion of any person to mention their caste or religion. Further that they can leave the columns blank in the Transfer Certificate and School Certificates. Therefore, the right to leave the column blank in respect of cast and religion has been conferred on the individual person.

Accordingly, a bench of Justice S.M. Subramaniam while noting that the petitioner was unable to produce any Government order or statute that he was entitled to secure “No Cast No Religion” Certificate from the Revenue Authority, observed, “In the absence of any such Government Orders, the Tahsildars cannot issue any and every certificate at their whims and fancies. Such unguided powers would lead to administrative anarchy and become unconstitutional. The Revenue Authority is expected to exercise their powers within the ambit of the statutes, rules and the Government Orders in force. They are not expected to issue the certificates at their choice. The claim of the petitioner has not been supported by any statute or Government Orders”.

The bench also noted that issuance of certificate is to be construed as a general declaration which cannot be issued by the Revenue Authorities in the absence of powers conferred by the Government.

Advocate M. Navin Kumar appeared for the petitioner and Additional Government Pleader Vadivelu Deenadayalan appeared for the respondent.

While appreciating the desire of the petitioner to procure a certificate, the bench further observed, “Being a good citizen is the greatest contribution for the development of our great nation. It is the duty contemplated under Article 51(A) of the Constitution of India. Petitioner's desire to secure “No Cast No Religion” Certificate deserves to be appreciated, but the question arises as to whether such certificate can be issued by the Tahsildar in the absence of any power conferred by the Government to issue such nature of Certificate”.

The respondents had submitted that the Tahsildars are not conferred with the power to issue “No Cast No Religion” Certificate. The Tahsildars are empowered to issue listed certificates as per the Government Orders.

Appearance: For the Petitioner-Advocate M. Navin Kumar

For the Respondent-Additional Government Pleader Vadivelu Deenadayalan

Cause Title: H. Santhosh v. The District Collector

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