Koteyar, Kotegara, Koteyava, Shervegar, Sherugar, Rama Kshatriya castes were given SC tag in 1977
MANGALORE: A 30-year-old mistake continues to haunt the State Government to this day. People, who were wrongly given Scheduled Caste status through a government notification on November 29, 1977, are still enjoying the benefits of “positive discrimination and reservations”.
Although the Government withdrew the notification on April 20 1978, less than five months after it was first announced, the people who benefited from the notification then, continue to use the caste certificates they were issued in that period.
A Government Order issued after the withdrawal of the November 1977 notification ruled that the benefits accruing from the certificates issued during the five-month period could be enjoyed subject to the beneficiaries surrendering their caste certificates for them to be invalidated by the issuing authorities.
However, the beneficiaries continue to hold on to their caste certificates. The enforcement agencies fear that these certificates could be misused by the future generations of the recipients of those certificates.
Superintendent of Police, Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement (DCRE), Manjunath K. Annigeri said that as per the 1977 notification the people belonging to Koteyar, Kotegara, Koteyava, Shervegar, Sherugar and Rama Kshatriya castes were declared as Scheduled Castes on the assumption that they were “synonymous” with the Kotegar and Metri castes.
“Ironically, the leaders of these newly-notified communities were the ones who opposed the notification,” Mr. Annigeri said.
Quoting from a memorandum submitted by the caste leaders he said: “They saw it as a dent on the pride of their community to be notified as a Scheduled Caste.”
But there were many people, who had already availed the benefits. “These people ran the risk of losing their jobs gained through reservations. In 1995, the Karnataka High Court came to the rescue of the people, who had benefited from the wrong notification. In an order, 2352/90:2722:91, 851/94, it directed the State Government not to disturb the already-benefited people.
The Government in 2003 said that the non-Scheduled Castes, who had availed benefits meant for the Scheduled Castes of Kotegar and Metri, would not be asked to surrender the benefits, provided they surrendered their caste certificates to the respective tahsildars.
The DCRE has now intensified its action against these violators. Mr. Annigeri said that between May and November this year, 26 fraudulent certificate-holders had been booked.
Cases had been registered against the violators under Section 198 (on using as true, a certificate known to be false), Section 199 (false statement made in declaration, which is by law receivable as evidence), and Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code.
In addition, cases had been filed under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989.