The Gujarat government will bring a Bill in the next Assembly session to curb the use of fake caste certificates to get reservation benefits in government jobs, education and elections, Forest and Tribal Development Minister Ganpat Vasava stated in an official release on Monday. Under the Bill, those found guilty of procuring fake caste certificates or abetting such acts will face three-year imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine. The Budget session of the Assembly is scheduled to start from February 19.
“The state government has taken a historic decision to bring a law in the upcoming Assembly session to safeguard constitutional reservation rights of tribals, Dalits and OBCs,” Vasava was quoted as saying in the release. According to Vasava, now anybody who takes reservation benefits through fake caste certificates will get imprisonment and fine. Those who are found to be giving such benefits and those who abet such acts will also be liable for punishment, Vasava added.
“The decision to bring a law in this regard was taken after representations were received with complaints about people getting reservations on fake caste certificates,” Vasava said.
Giving out further details about the upcoming legislation, Vasava added that those who got government jobs on fake caste certificates will be terminated and all benefits given to them during the service will be recovered. Similarly, admission in schools and colleges on reserved category through a fake caste certificate will also be cancelled. Not only that, any scholarship given to such a candidate will also be recovered from him.
For those who get elected in reserved constituencies with a fake caste certificate, the law prescribes disqualification. The new law also stipulates that all candidates who want to get reservation benefits in education, government jobs or elections get their caste certificates checked from a special committee which will be formed.
Recently, a scrutiny committee had invalidated the caste certificate of independent MLA from Morva Hadaf constituency, Bhupendra Khant, rejecting his claim to be a tribal. Khant’s mother was a tribal and his father is an OBC and he was elected on a seat reserved for tribals. Khant had challenged the decision before the Gujarat High Court and the court had rejected the decision, asking the scrutiny committee to give Khant hearing and check his documents before passing any order in a time-bound manner. Khant has lent his support to the Congress.