HC dismisses plea of Combined Civil Services aspirant

December 03, 2022 10:32 pm | Updated 10:32 pm IST - MADURAI

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a Civil Services aspirant, who had converted to Islam from Hindu, challenging his rejection by the authorities who had considered him under the general category. He sought to be treated under the BC (Muslim) category.

The court heard the petition filed by U. Akbar Ali. He was a Hindu and belonged to the Most Backward Class (DNC). He and his family members converted to Islam in 2008. The Zonal Deputy Tahsildar, Ramanathapuram taluk, issued a community certificate certifying that the petitioner belongs to Labbais community.

When TNPSC issued notification in 2018 inviting applications from eligible candidates for direct recruitment to the posts included in the Combined Civil Services Examination – II (Group-II Services), the petitioner applied. He cleared the preliminary written examination and wrote the main examination. But, he was not included in the final selection list.

Through RTI response he came to know that the reason for his non-selection was because TNPSC did not treat him under BC (Muslim) category but considered him under general category. Questioning the said stand taken by TNPSC, the present petition was filed. He said before conversion he enjoyed the status of belonging to MBC (DNC). In Tamil Nadu, Muslims are recognised as belonging to Backward Class. He should be considered as belonging to the BC community, he said.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed that the Tamil Nadu government had in as many as four letters laid down that the candidates who have converted to Islam from other religion will be considered only as ‘others category’.

Applying the hierarchy principle, it is obvious that the certificate issued by the jurisdictional Deputy Tahsildar will rank below that of a government letter. In fact, the jurisdictional Deputy Tahsildar had acted irregularly by breaching the mandate set out in the government letters which are binding on him. The recruitment agency is, therefore, obliged to disregard such community certificates issued in breach of the instructions issued by the government. The government letters will prevail over any community certificate issued in breach thereof, the judge observed.

The judge observed, “The issue can be approached from another angle. It is not as if all Muslims have been recognised as belonging to Backward Class in Tamil Nadu. A G.O. catalogues only the following list of Backward Classes (Muslims) : Ansar, Dekkani Muslims, Dudekula, Labbais, including Rowthar and Marakayar (whether their spoken language is Tamil or Urdu), Mapilla, Sheik, Syed.”

The petitioner has enclosed the certificate issued by the Kazi of Tamil Nadu Government for Ramanathapuram district, 2012. It reads that Sathiyamoorthy, Son of Lakshmanan, had embraced Islam on his own volition and that he had joined the Muslim Jamat as a member and that he is following Islamic norms and principles. This certificate declaring the petitioner’s conversion only states that the petitioner has become a Muslim and nothing more, the judge observed.

The judge observed, “When the Kazi does not declare that the convertee is to be treated as belonging to the group of Labbais, I fail to understand as to how a revenue authority of a secular government can fix the converted individual in a particular slot or pigeon-hole”.

The judge observed that whether such a person should be given the benefit of reservation even after conversion is a question that is pending adjudication before the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court is seized of the matter, it is not for this court to uphold the claim of the petitioner, the judge observed and dismissed the petition.

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