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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Terminate jobs of those who convert either before or after availing reservation benefits – Madras HC

While hearing a case on the illegality of employing a person without required qualifications, the Madras High Court has ruled that those who convert for reservation benefits should be terminated. The HC laid down rules for the universities in employing its staff, and one of them was about how people who change their religion yet avail reservation benefits (meant for SC Hindus) should be terminated with immediate effect once it is found out.

The HC was hearing a case on illegalities in the employment and promotion of a library staff in Bharathidasan University, Coimbatore. Gowthaman, who applied for the Assistant Technical Officer(Library) post in the university, was recruited by the management even though he didn’t possess required educational qualifications and experience and was promoted as Technical Officer later. His colleagues went to court challenging the promotion. While hearing their petition, the judge observed that many universities are indulging in such corrupt practices and laid down rules to be followed by the universities in recruiting their staff.

Justice R. Mahadevan who heard the petition instructed that the universities should follow a transparent process of recruitment and that they should display the name, educational qualifications, experience etc. of candidates in their official websites and notice boards before the final round of interview. If and when doubts about the qualification of an employee arise, it should be immediately investigated and disposed of within 3 months, he directed.

He further directed that if there were anomalies in the recruitment process, it should be cancelled with immediate effect and the salary paid to the undeserving employee must be recovered from the recruitment committee. The judge lamented how many deserving people lose chances because of such corrupt practices by the recruitment committee.

The judge also observed that the practice of using fake certificates to gain employment under reservation is prevalent, and if found out such people should be immediately terminated and the salary paid to them should be recovered from them.

He observed that ‘If a person who got the job under reservation converts to another religion either before the appointment or thereafter, the person would forgo the right to such appointment under the respective quota. The appointee would also forgo the right to continue in the post and the service of such employee must be terminated’.

As per the Constitutional (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950, a person who professes a religion other than Hindu Dharma, Sikhism, Buddhism shall cease to be a member of the SC Community. But many despite converting to Christianity and being baptised, hide their religion and keep SC Hindu certificates to avail reservation benefits. Recently advocacy organisation Legal Rights Protection Forum filed complaints with relevant authorities about Tamil politician Thol. Thirumavalavan who has admitted to professing Christianity. He contested and won the Lok Sabha election from a SC reserved constituency Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.

This is prevalent in all fields and the court’s observation of the same in the university recruitment process reveals it. In this light, the judge’s instructions regarding people who convert before or after availing reservation benefits, comes as a breather to genuine Hindu SCs who lose the opportunity to fully benefit from the reservation system designed for them.

In February, the Madras HC had ruled that those who reconvert back to Hindu Dharma from Christianity are eligible for reservation benefits. When the issue of employing a Christian woman who converted back to Hindu Dharma and rejoined her old SC community came up, the court pointed out that the government order on reconversion allows such benefits. It ruled that, provided that the community accepts such conversion or reconversion, from Christianity to Hindu Dharma, SCs can avail reservation and other benefits accorded to them.

Both these rulings will play a vital role in weeding out the converts from usurping the rights of Hindu SCs and bringing back those who were converted by coercion and deceit.

(Featured Image Source: India Facts)

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