AHMEDABAD: President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to a bill passed by the Gujarat Assembly in March this year to penalise the use of fake caste certificates for getting jobs or admission to educational institutes.
The President has approved ‘The Gujarat Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of Caste Certificates) Bill 2018, an official said here.
“The bill was sent to the President as it falls in the concurrent list (the subjects which come under the jurisdiction of both the Centre and the states). We have been informed that it has got the President’s assent,” state legislative affairs secretary K M Lala told .
The bill was passed in the Budget session in March.
As per its provisions, a person found guilty of producing a fake caste certificate to get a government job or to secure admission to an educational institute would face a jail term of up to three years but not less than six months.
The offender will also have to pay a fine of up to Rs 50,000 but not less than Rs 10,000.
A person contesting and winning election to local bodies such as a gram panchayat or a municipality from a reserved constituency using a fake caste certificate will also face the same punishment and fine.
In addition, such a person will be disqualified, and his or her election will be declared invalid.
The provision is also applicable to elections to co-operative societies. Government officials found guilty of issuing fake caste certificates will also face the same punishment.
A person who gets a government job using a fake caste certificate will be dismissed from service. The government will have the power to recover the monetary benefits, such as salary and perks, he or she may have availed of.
Admissions to educational institutes, secured on the basis of fake caste certificates, will be cancelled.
Even the person’s degree will be cancelled if he or she is found to have got admission to the course by using a fake caste certificate.
As per the new mechanism introduced in the bill, no one except the “Competent Authority” appointed by the government can issue caste certificates once the Act comes into force.
Persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Other Backward Classes will have to apply to this Authority — which can be an officer designated by the government — for acquiring the caste certificate.
Once the authority issues the certificate, the applicant will have to get it verified by the scrutiny committee and get a caste validity certificate.