Quashes RDO’s order denying them community certificates

: P. Thangavel and his wife V. Pushpalatha, a bank officer in Chennai, are natives of Kulithalai in Karur district.

They were issued with community certificates way back in 1976 and 1979 respectively stating that they belong to Hindu Kaattunayakan community, a scheduled tribe.

A paradox

But their two sons were denied similar certificates last year on the ground that the community does not exist in any of the villages in Karur district.

In an order passed on September 20 last year, the Kulithalai Revenue Divisional Officer also said that Ms. Pushpalatha and her brother V. Karunakaran had been issued with community certificates by a Deputy Tahsildar (Headquarters) who was not at all competent to issue such certificates.

The RDO held so despite the two certificates having been found to be genuine by a State Level Scrutiny Committee in 2009.

Nevertheless, allowing a writ petition filed by Mr. Thangavel, the Madras High Court Bench here has now set aside the RDO's order and directed him to issue the certificates to the petitioner's sons T. Vinithkumar and T. Jegadhisa within six weeks.

A Division Bench of Justices P.P.S. Janarthana Raja and M. Duraiswamy held that the RDO had declined to issue the certificates without any legal grounds whatsoever.

The judges agreed with the senior counsel, M. Ajmal Khan, appearing for the petitioners, that there was no basis in the Revenue Divisional Officer’s contention that Kattunayakan community was non existent in Karur district as the District Census Handbook of composite Tiruchi district, from which Karur was created in 1995, categorically states that people belonging to Kattunayakan community were found mostly in Kulithalai Taluk.

Further, the community certificates issued in favour of the petitioner, his wife and brother-in-law were still in force without being cancelled by any authority under the relevant provisions of law.

Genuineness confirmed

The genuineness of the certificates was also confirmed by the State Level Scrutiny Committee chaired by none other than the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department Secretary.

The committee comprised of an anthropologist too.

In such circumstances, there would be no justification in denying Scheduled Tribe community certificates to the petitioner's children alone, the judges said and recalled that the Supreme Court too in a judgement delivered in 2005 had held that individuals were entitled to community certificates similar to the one issued in favour of their parents and relatives.