SC/ST person from one State cannot claim SC/ST benefits in another State: Supreme Court [Read Judgement]

Latest News

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) community in one State is not entitled to claim the privileges and benefits admissible to persons belonging to such SC/ ST community in another State [Bhadar Ram vs Jassa Ram].

A Bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna relied upon the 1994 Constitution Bench judgment of the top court in Action Committee on Issue of Caste Certificate to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the State of Maharashtra and Another Vs. Union of India and Another to rule that the appellant in the case being a SC person from Punjab and a permanent resident of Punjab, cannot claim the benefit of a SC in the State of Rajasthan for the purpose of purchase of the land belonging to an SC person in Rajasthan.

The dispute was with respect to a piece of land situated in Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan.

The said piece of land was allotted to the father of the respondent in 1972 as Scheduled Caste landless person. This person after he got the land borrowed some money from a person. The said lender, a person belonging to Jat caste, duped him by making him sign a sale deed in favour of the appellant, one Bhadar Ram who was from Punjab and belonged to SC community.

What followed was a maze of legal cases to get the land back. The last case was before a Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court which set aside the single judge order and held that the resident being a SCA person belonging to the State of Punjab, could not have taken the benefit of the same in the State of Rajasthan.

Bhadar Ram, therefore, moved the Supreme Court challenging the Division Bench verdict of the High Court.

The Bench after considering the documentary evidences referred to by the parties held that the appellant cannot be said to be a permanent resident of State of Rajasthan.

In doing so, the Bench also relied on Section 20(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 which defines ‘ordinarily resident’ as a person who shall not be deemed to be ordinarily resident in a constituency on the ground only that he owns, or is in possession of, a dwelling house therein.

Having established that the appellant did not belong to Rajasthan, the Court then proceeded to consider whether a person, who is a member of Scheduled Caste in Punjab, where he is residing, can claim the benefit of Scheduled Caste in Rajasthan in relation to Section 42 of the Rajasthan Colonization Act, 1954 .

As per Section 42 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, there is a restriction on sale, gift or bequest by a member of Scheduled Caste in favour of a person, who is not a member of Scheduled Caste.

The Court noted that this issue has been conclusively settled in the case of of Marri Chandra Shekar Rao Vs. Dean, Seth G.S. Medical College & Ors and the Action Committee case.

In Marri Chandra Shekhar Rao case, it was held that social condition of a State varies from State to State and it will not be proper to generalize any caste or tribe as SC/ST for the whole country.

In Action Committee it was ruled that a person belonging to SC/ST in relation to his original State of which he is permanent or an ordinarily resident cannot be deemed to be so in relation to any other State on his migration to that State for the purpose of employment, education etc.

The said principle applies even in the present case though the dispute in the present case is regarding sale of land and not education or employment.

“Appellant – original defendant being a Scheduled Caste belonging to State of Punjab and being an ordinarily and permanent resident of the State of Punjab cannot claim the benefit of a Scheduled Caste in the State of Rajasthan for the purpose of purchase of the land belonging to a Scheduled Caste person of State of Rajasthan, which was given to original allottee as Scheduled Caste landless person, and therefore, as rightly held by the Division Bench of the High Court, the sale transaction in favour of the appellant – original defendant was in clear breach and / or in violation of Section 42 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955,” the Court ruled.

It concluded that land transaction was in breach of Section 42 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955 and therefore, dismissed the appeal

Read Judgment here:

Source Link

Leave a Reply