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HC reinstates bus conductor dismissed over caste certificate

High-CourtThe Bombay High Court has reinstated a municipal bus conductor, who was dismissed after 20 years in service as his caste certificate was invalidated by a government committee, observing that action against him reflected non-application of mind by authorities.

It set aside an order of Caste Scrutiny Committee of Maharashtra government invalidating the conductor’s scheduled caste certificate, as a result of which he was dismissed from municipal transport service in 2013.

The HC reinstated the conductor, Horilal Jaiswar, in service with back wages while observing the impugned action was taken due to non-application of mind by authorities.

The order was delivered by a bench of Justices Reveti Mohite-Dere and V M Kanade last week.

Aggrieved by the panel’s move and termination order issued by then Bombay Suburban Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BSES), Jaiswar had moved the HC.

The Committee had come to a conclusion that though the petitioner belonged to a Scheduled Caste, his application for caste validity certificate was being rejected on the ground he was not domiciled in Maharashtra before August 10, 1950.

The bench directed the Vigilance Cell of the Committee to give a fresh opportunity to Jaiswar to lead oral evidence apart from documentary evidence already produced by him with regard to his domicile status before 1950.

The Judges directed the existing municipal transport undertaking (BEST) to reinstate the petitioner with back wages and ordered the Vigilance Cell to complete its investigation within 12 weeks.

Thereafter, the Judges said, the Committee shall expeditiously decide his application on merits and in accordance with law.

In course of his employment spanning two decades, Jaiswar was awarded certificates of appreciation for displaying honesty and integrity in work. He was also awarded medals for excellent work in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The conductor was due for promotion and his case was referred to the Committee to verify his claim that he belonged to Scheduled Caste. The Vigilance Cell sent notices to the petitioner for producing documents to prove his residence in Mumbai prior to 1950.

Jaiswar claimed he did not receive these letters in time though later he visited the Vigilance Cell’s office and showed all necessary documents he possessed.

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