Non-submission of documents such as community certificates, sports certificates, NCC/NSS certificates or others cannot be a reason to reject applications for government jobs summarily, the Madras High Court has ruled.

A Division Bench of Justice D. Murugesan and Justice S. Nagamuthu said there was a distinction between indispensable documents such as certificates relating to educational qualifications and others which were required for special consideration.

Failure on the part of candidates to submit documents proving their basic qualification could be a ground to reject the applications. But other documents which were required for claiming reservation under a special quota could be submitted leisurely.

The ruling was passed in a case related to a 27-year-old Dalit woman whose provisional selection as Village Administrative Officer was cancelled by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission due to late submission of community certificate.

A community certificate helps to find out whether a candidate could be considered under the reserved quota. Hence, it could be submitted when the question of such consideration arises and not necessarily at the time of filing the application, the judges said.Writing the judgement, Mr. Justice Nagamuthu said: “On a too technical ground relating to mere procedure, like the one which is raised by TNPSC, the rightful claim of a person, who needs to be uplifted by the benefit of reservation, cannot be deprived of.”

The Bench also went on to state: “It is not as though the woman was recalcitrant in not making any attempt to get the community certificate. It is also not the case as though she is a casteless woman. After all, she does not live in a casteless society.”

Observing that “by birth, she has acquired a caste known as Kattunayakan, a Scheduled Tribe community,” the judges said it was the fault of the revenue officials for taking 12 years to issue the community certificate since her application in 1997.

“Though her immediate elder brother was issued with a community certificate as early as 2003, for reasons best known to the second respondent, the urgency of the woman fell into the deaf ears and the matter was kept pending for a decade,” the Bench added. It ultimately dismissed a writ appeal filed by the TNPSC against a single judge’s order passed on August 6, 2008. Allowing a writ petition filed by the Dalit woman, the single judge had quashed an order passed by the TNPSC on June 11, 2008, cancelling her provisional selection as VAO.

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