Jha HC | Orders by quasi-judicial authorities must be recorded and reasoned for securing natural justice

Jharkhand High Court: Sujit Narayan Prasad, J. entertained a writ petition against the rejection of application for issuance of Caste certificate to the aggrieved petitioner.

Petitioner had categorically averred that a Caste certificate was issued to him, which proved ‘Ghatwar’ as his particular caste. Since he belonged to the area pertaining to the Santhal Pargana province, wherein, the competent authority while issuing the said Caste certificate had considered the survey settlement of the district of Mango, whereby ‘Ghatwar’ caste was treated to be the sub-caste of the ‘Bhumij’, but the said caste certificate had been rejected under impugned order, no reason was assigned to him for the said rejection.

Petitioner questioned the decision, mainly on the ground that the same was in violation of the principles of natural justice and the decision was without any reason and based upon the Notification of the State of Jharkhand which cannot override the Presidential Order by virtue of it the ‘Bhumij’ caste has been brought under the purview of the VIth Schedule and since ‘Ghatwar’ is sub-caste of ‘Bhumij’, hence the petitioner being ‘Ghatwar’ was of Scheduled Tribe category.

Rajendra Krishna, learned counsel for the petitioner had assailed the aforesaid order on the grounds, firstly that the caste certificate was cancelled without conferring show cause notice to the petitioner, therefore, the rejection order was in violation of the principles of natural justice and secondly, before rejecting, the competent authority had referred the matter to Caste Scrutiny Committee, as was previously decided by the Supreme Court in Kumari Madhuri Patil v. Addl. Commr., (1994) 6 SCC 241.

Respondent-State submitted that the State of Jharkhand had come out with a notification, as contained under Annexure-D, by which the ‘Ghatwar’ caste has been treated to be under the BC category and therefore, the competent authority by taking the aid of the said notification, had cancelled the caste certificate without any reasons.

The Court held, “It is settled position of law that a decision without any reason will be said to be not sustainable in the eyes of law, because the order in absence of any reason, also amounts to the violation of the principles of natural justice.” It further observed that no reason for rejection was assigned or reflected on the face of order; State had a duty to assign reason when it made such an adverse decision. Court, didn’t grant any relief as the Caste Scrutiny Committee had been constituted with the State of Jharkhand as informed, therefore, it was appropriate, just and proper to accord liberty to the petitioner to approach before the Caste Scrutiny Committee for redressal of his grievance.[Jit Lal Ray v. State of Jharkhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 660, decided on 26-04-2019]

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