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In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court said on July 6 that people caught for using fake caste certificates to get quota facilities must be prosecuted with immediate effect and stripped of all reservation benefits. The apex court bench was referring to the practice of such certificates being used to get an entry into an educational institute or grab a government job.

The issue came up while the apex court was examining the verdict of the Bombay High Court which had ruled that a person with long years of service under a reserved category could be allowed to continue even if it was found that he had submitted fake certificates to get the job. The apex court did not agree with the verdict of the high court and while striking it down felt that such practices by other high courts must be stopped with immediate effect. It also observed that such a conduct smacked of a criminal tendency and would deprive the genuine beneficiary.

The Court also said that its order would not be implemented with retrospective effect and be effective only from the day of the judgment.

A bunch of petitions had been filed on the issue before the apex court. The apex court had earlier directed that a policy of “zero tolerance” must be adopted by all in such cases.

There have been instances when other high courts have taken a similar position (akin to the Bombay High Court), and the persons concerned have only been fined but not thrown out of their jobs, considering the years that they had put in.

The court also observed that it was high time that the certificates submitted to avail quota benefits be thoroughly checked and their basis ascertained.

—India Legal Bureau

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