Magistrate Can’t Adjudicate Validity Of Caste Certificate: Karnataka HC Quashes Criminal Case Against Man Booked U/s. 420 IPC
The Karnataka High Court has observed that a person can be prosecuted for the offence of obtaining false caste certificate only if the competent authority rejects the claim of its validity.
The Court also added that a Magistrate cannot adjudicate the validity of the Caste Certificate.
“…Magistrate cannot adjudicate the validity of the Caste Certificate and its only the Caste Verification Committee under Rules 1992, can adjudicate whether the petitioner has obtained the Caste Certificate fraudulently that he belongs to Machala Community though he belongs to Weavers Community which is not a Scheduled Caste Community.”, the bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar observed while quashing a case under Section 420 IPC against a man.
Advocate Prabhugouda B Tumbigi appeared for the petitioner-accused whereas Advocate Mahesh Shetty appeared for the State.
In this case it was alleged that, though the petitioner belongs to Weavers Community, by furnishing false information obtained Caste Certificate that he belongs to Machala Community which is classified as Scheduled Caste and thereby managed to secure job.
Following this, the Magistrate took cognizance of the aforesaid offences.
The Magistrate, dismissed the application for discharge stating that whether the petitioner belongs to Weavers Community or Machala Community is the matter which requires to be considered after full-fledged trial.
The Criminal Revision Petition was dismissed by the sessions judge.
The Court noted that it was undisputed that the Caste Certificate issued in favour of the petitioner has not been cancelled by the Competent Authority under the provisions of the Karnataka Schedule Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (Reservation of Appointment etc.) Rules, 1992.
“Admittedly, the Caste Certificate issued in favour of the petitioner-accused that he belongs to Machala community is still in subsistence and is not cancelled by the Competent Authority under the Rules, 1992.” the Court observed.
The Court further observed that as per provisions of Rules, 1992 the petitioner can be prosecuted for the offence punishable under Section 420 only upon an order passed by the Caste Verification Committee rejecting the claim of the petitioner for grant of Validity Certificate.
“The Caste Certificate issued in favour of the petitioner having not been cancelled under the provision of the Rules, 1992, cognizance taken by the learned Magistrate on the basis of the final report is impermissible…”, the Court noted.
Thus the Court noted that the continuation of the criminal proceedings against the petitioner-accused will be an abuse of process of law.
Accordingly, the Court quashed the criminal case registered against the petitioner.
Cause Title- S. Neelakantappa v. State of Karnataka & Ors.
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