Delay in issuance of caste validity certificate by District Panel to BHMS Aspirant, HC Imposes Rs 3 Lakh cost on Panel Members
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench granted relief to a BHMS aspirant, who faced problems in getting admitted to Motiwala (National) Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital because of thedelay in issuance of caste validity certificate by the District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee, Mumbai.While considering the matter, the HC bench comprising Justices S B Shukre and F P Pooniwalla...
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench granted relief to a BHMS aspirant, who faced problems in getting admitted to Motiwala (National) Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital because of thedelay in issuance of caste validity certificate by the District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee, Mumbai.
While considering the matter, the HC bench comprising Justices S B Shukre and F P Pooniwalla imposed Rs 3 lakh costs on the Chairperson and members of the Scrutiny Committee for the delay. The bench further clarified that if the amount of the cost was not paid within 8 weeks from the date of the order, the same shall be recovered from the salary of the said Chairperson and the members of the Committee.
It was argued by the petitioner that even though the validity certificate was ready on 24.07.2019, it was delivered to her on 17.02.2020. Due to this, her admission to the BHMS Degree Course offered by Motiwala (National) Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital got endangered.
Further, the petitioner submitted that the cut-off date for submission of the validity certificate was of 30.09.2019 and if the validity certificate had been delivered to her well in time, she would have submitted it on or before the cut-off date to the concerned authorities. However, she could not do so because of the delay caused by the Scrutiny Committee in the delivery of the validity certificate to her.
The High Court bench noted that the case of the petitioner was fully substantiated by the stand taken by the Scrutiny Committee in its Affidavit-in-Reply dated 13.01.2023. In the affidavit, the Committee admitted that the decision that the caste claim of the petitioner was valid, was taken on 24.07.2019, but due to unsustainable reasons, notices were sent to the petitioner to submit additional documents. Ultimately, the Scrutiny Committee admitted “I say and submit that once the Caste Claim is held to be validated by the Committee by its Meeting dtd.24.07.2019, again issuing Notice and again demanding documents is without jurisdiction. I tender my unconditional apology for that and in future, we will take abundant precaution in respect of that”.
"This is a clear cut admission given by the Scrutiny Committee about it itself being responsible for delay in delivery of the caste validity certificate to the petitioner," noted the HC bench.
"It would be clear from the admissions given by the Scrutiny Committee that it was solely responsible for belated delivery of caste validity certificate to the petitioner and if that is so, this would be a case wherein petitioner cannot be permitted to be punished for the mistake or illegality, whatever one may choose to say by the Scrutiny Committee," the bench further observed.
Allowing the plea, the HC bench mentioned in the order, "There may be a cut-off date prescribed for submission of the validity certificates by the aspiring candidates, but in a case like this, where the delay in delivery of the validity certificate lay completely at the doorsteps of the Scrutiny Committee, such deadline cannot be operated in a manner as to cause injustice to a deserving candidate like the petitioner."
Opining that the equity would tilt heavily in favour of the petitioner, the HC bench allowed the plea and imposed a cost upon each of the members of the Scrutiny Committee for creating a situation of extreme stress and inconvenience for the petitioner.
Setting aside a June 2020 order, the HC bench further directed the Directorate of AYUSH, Admission Regulating Authority Maharashtra and Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to grant approval to the admission of the petitioner to the BHMS Degree Course offered Motiwala Homeopathic Medical College from the date on which she was admitted to the course within two weeks from the date of the order.
Apart from this, imposing a cost on the members of the Scrutiny Committee, the bench ordered, "The Chairman and the members of the Scrutiny Committee, who had taken decision to validate the caste claim of the petitioner on 24.07.2019 and who were responsible for belated issuance of the validity certificate to the petitioner, shall pay jointly and severally cost of Rs.3 Lacs to the petitioner within a period of eight weeks from the date of the order, failing which same shall be recovered from the salary of the said Chairman and the members of the Scrutiny Committee and made over to the petitioner within a period of four weeks from the date of the default committed by them."
The Counsel for the petitioner submitted before the Court that the petitioner wished that the cost may be paid to Tata Memorial Hospital on her behalf. Taking note of this, the bench directed, "We direct the then Chairman and the members of the Scrutiny Committee to issue cheque of Rs.3 Lacs in favour of “Tata Memorial Hospital” on behalf of the petitioner accordingly."
To view the order, click on the link below:
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.