Case name: Managing Director FCI and Ors. v. Jagdish Balram Bahira and Ors.
Recently, the Supreme Court was confronted with a batch of petitions involving individuals who sought the benefit of public employment on the basis of a claim to belong to a beneficiary group which upon investigation was found to be invalid. In the case Supreme Court has rendered an elaborate explanation of usurpation of constitutional benefits by persons who do not genuinely belong to beneficiary groups.
The crux of Apex Court’s ruling in the instant case was that when a person who does not belong to a caste, tribe or class for whom the reservation is meant, seeks to pass off as its member, such a stratagem constitutes a fraud on the Constitution. Public employment is a significant source of social mobility. Access to education opens the doors to secure futures. As a matter of principle, in the exercise of its constitutional jurisdiction, the court must weigh against an interpretation which will protect unjust claims over the just, fraud over legality and expediency over principle
The Court broadly discussed the following issues in the case:
Whether a person who has secured the benefit of public employment or admission to an educational institution on a reserved quota is entitled to retain the benefits obtained despite the invalidation of the claim to belong to the tribe or caste?
Whether there should be a retrospective application of withdrawal of benefits secured on the basis of a caste claim which has been found to be false?
Whether the dishonest intent is a requisite for withdrawal of benefits secured on the basis of a caste claim which has been found to be false?
The Court at length discussed the proposition as laid down by the Supreme Court in the cases of Kavita Vasant Solunke vs. State of Maharashtra and Shalini Gajananrao Dalal v. New English High School Association. In these case, the Court ruled that candidates who honestly and correctly claimed to belong to a particular Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe but were later on found by the relevant authority not to fall within the particular group envisaged for protected treatment would not be negated of the benefits already enjoyed by them and would continue in service. However, such candidates would be disentitled to claim any further or continuing benefit on the predication of belonging to the said Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe.
The Apex Court in the instant case overruled the aforesaid finding of the Court and stated that the principles as settled in Kavita Solunke and Shalini case were not correct and might lead to serious consequences.
The entire case can be accessed here.