Sensitise officials to their powers, HC tells Adi Dravidar Department, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

Chennai, The Madras High Court has directed the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department to sensitise its officials to their powers and responsibilities in verification of community certificates. “We hope the needful will be done at the level of the secretary,” a Division Bench of Justice R Subramanian and Justice K Kumaresh Babu said while allowing a writ petition from a woman on November 2.

The judges said they are not happy with the functioning of the authorities, who are engaged in the verification of the community certificates. The State-level scrutiny committee takes its own time, in some cases more than 20 years to complete the enquiry, they said.

Even if the committee completes the enquiry process, the authorities in the Directorate of Tribal Welfare take up another cause and issue directions according to their whims and fancies.

“It is high time that the secretary, Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare, looks into the issue seriously and sensitise its officers to their powers and responsibilities in the process of verification of the certificates,” the judges said.

K Lalitha Kumar, the woman petitioner, joined the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) as an assistant in 1986 under the quota for Scheduled Tribes based on her community certificate issued by the Tiruttani tahsildar in 1983.

In 1995, the management referred the community certificate for verification.

In 1998, the Tiruvallur district Collector cancelled the certificate concluding that she does not belong to Scheduled Tribe viz., Konda Reddy. Following the cancellation, disciplinary proceedings were launched by LIC in March the same year. She challenged the same and the High Court allowed the petition after concluding that it is the State-level scrutiny committee, which would have the power to verify the genuineness of the certificate.

The matter was sent to the committee back for verification. In February 2020, the committee upheld the certificate issued to the petitioner. But, there were complaints, and the committee decided on re-enquiry.

This was brought to the notice of the employer, who sought clarification from the director of Tribal Welfare Chepauk in February this year.

Immediately, the director sent a reply to the LIC within two days stating that steps have been taken for the re-enquiry. After holding that the committee has no power to review its own order, the Bench allowed the petition. PTI COR NVG NVG

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