IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO._487 OF 2018
(Arising from SLP(C) No.7181 of 2016)
Sunita Singh ..Appellant
State of Uttar Pradesh and others ..Respondents
J U D G M E N T
MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR, J.
2. Judgment dated 21.12.2015 passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Allahabad in Writ-C No. 53689 of 2015, dismissing
the writ petition filed by the appellant and confirming the order of
termination from service passed against the appellant, is called in
question in this appeal.
3. Appellant was born in “Agarwal” family. She married Dr.
Veer Singh, who happens to belong to “Jatav” Community (said to
be one of the Scheduled Castes). A caste certificate dated
29.11.1991 was issued by District Magistrate/Collector,
Bulandshahar certifying the appellant as of Scheduled Caste
(Jatav). Based on the academic qualifications and the caste
certificate, she was appointed initially as a Post Graduate Teacher
(Hindi) vide letter dated 16.12.1993 at Kendriya Vidyalaya No.1,
Pathankot, Punjab. During the course of her service, she completed
her M.Ed and served the institution for about 21 years as teacher.
4. A complaint was lodged against the appellant to the effect
that she was born in “Agarwal” family (general caste category) and
after her marriage with a person of scheduled caste, she obtained a
caste certificate in question. After making preliminary verification,
the jurisdictional officer directed to conduct an enquiry in respect of
the caste certificate of the appellant. The Tehsildar vide his order
dated 22/27.6.2013 cancelled the caste certificate of the appellant
and asked the appellant to return the caste certificate issued earlier
to the appellant.
City Magistrate, Bulandshahar vide letter dated
18.07.2013 communicated to the Deputy Commissioner, Kendriya
Vidyalaya Sangathan that the caste certificate issued to the
appellant treating her as “Jatav” has been cancelled. Subsequently,
the appellant made a representation to District Magistrate,
Bulandshahar on 6.1.2014 requesting him to reconsider the matter
and the said representation came to be dismissed on 3.9.2014 by
District Magistrate, Bulandshahar. The appeal filed by the
appellant against the order of the Tehsildar cancelling her caste
certificate and the order of the District Magistrate dismissing her
representation was also dismissed by the appellate authority i.e.,
Commissioner, Meerut Division, Meerut on 27.12.2014. As a result
of cancellation of the caste certificate, an order was passed by the
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan on 18.03.2015 terminating the
appellant from the services of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan. The
appeal filed by the appellant before the State Level Committee
against the order of the appellate authority cancelling her caste
certificate also came to be dismissed on 15.05.2015. The
appellant’s further efforts of approaching the High Court by filing
the writ petition also failed, inasmuch as the High Court dismissed
the writ petition by the impugned judgment. Hence, this appeal.
5. There cannot be any dispute that the caste is determined
by birth and the caste cannot be changed by marriage with a
person of scheduled caste. Undoubtedly, the appellant was born in
“Agarwal” family, which falls in general category and not in
scheduled caste. Merely because her husband is belonging to a
scheduled caste category, the appellant should not have been
issued with a caste certificate showing her caste as scheduled caste.
In that regard, the orders of the authorities as well as the judgment
of the High Court cannot be faulted.
However, having regard to the fact that the appellant has
already served as a Teacher and Vice-Principal of Kendriya
Vidyalaya without any black spot in her service career for about 21
years, and that she is going to retire shortly, we take lenient view by
exercising jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India
and order to convert the order of termination to an order of
compulsory retirement. While exercising leniency, we have also
kept in mind that the appellant has neither played fraud nor
misrepresented before any of the authorities for getting the caste
certificate and while continuing in service based on the caste
certificate. No questions were raised against her till the complaint in
question came to be lodged, even when the authorities had seen the
High School Certificate, Marks Sheet etc. showing her caste as
Agarwal at the initial stage. Having regard to the totality of the
facts of the case, the impugned judgment of the High Court is
modified. “The order of termination from service” passed against
the appellant shall be treated as “the order of compulsory
retirement”. However, we make it clear that this shall not be
treated as a precedent in future.
6. The appeal stands disposed of in the aforesaid terms. No
order as to costs.
[MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR]
JANUARY 19, 2018.