HC sets conditions for eligibility of ACL category certificate

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Sept 18: The High Court, in a significant judgment, has put a slew of conditions for seeking the benefit of reservation in Government jobs having the residency of the Line of Actual Control (ALC) area.
The Division Bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Puneet Gupta has held that for claiming the benefit of reservation by a person on the ground that he belongs to identified area near Line of Actual Control is required to establish that he or she belongs to an area identified near Line of Actual Control and has resided in the area for a period not less than 15 years prior to the date of application for (ALC) category certificate.
Court has further conditioned that the person has to establish that he or she is actually residing in the said area on the date of application and shall not be disentitled from claiming the benefit only on the ground that his or her father or the person on whom he or she is dependent is living in a place outside such area identified as ALC are on accounts of his employment, business, other professional, vocational reasons and migration from one place to another.
“He or she shall not be entitled to issue a certificate of ALC, if his annual income from all sources would exceed the ceiling limit of Rs 8 lakhs and shall not be disentitled to seek the benefit of being a person belonging to socially and educationally backward classes on accounts of income ceiling.
Court said he or she has to establish before the Competent Authority that he/she had lived and completed entire education in the ALC area and in case such schooling is not available in ALC area from the nearest adjoining area.
These conditions have been impressed by the court after having a glance on a case whereby a candidate concealed his factual position and obtained a ALC category certificate from the concerned authority twice which later on came to be withdrawn by the concerned authority after coming to know that the candidate was not entitled for the said certificate.
The DB has clarified that when the language of a statute is clear and unequivocal, Courts cannot embark upon putting any interpretation other than the literal interpretation. “We have also pointed out three requirements envisaged under the proviso, which, if fulfilled, would bring the case of an applicant seeking ALC category certificate out of the income ceiling condition as provided”, read the judgment.
While dealing with the case, the court said, the migration of populace from border areas was triggered by unsavoury circumstances created by Kargil war and hostilities by our neighbouring country. The people from one place were also forced to migrate and leave their home and hearth. Those who were forced to stay in camps in tented accommodations were, of course, visited with difficulties and miseries.
“However, those like the appellant and his family who were well off got the opportunity to provide residence and education to the appellant in better educational institutions in their township. The disability which appellant would have suffered did not come in his way in getting better education by having access to better schools and better amenities of life”, Court said.
Viewed thus, the bench did not accept the contention of counsel for the appellant that he was forced to shift from his native village and, therefore, cannot be deprived of ALC category status on the ground that he did not live and receive education in such area. Court said these arguments are clearly lacks logic and are completely unacceptable.
Court said that it is not the nomenclature but the substance of the application that matters and is relevant and if the power exercised by the competent authority is traceable to rules, it cannot be said that the order passed by the said competent authority is without jurisdiction for the reason that what was invoked by the applicant was the appellate power and that too beyond the period of limitation prescribed.
Court has observed that reservation in appointment has its genesis to Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India and the avowed object of providing reservation in appointments is giving level playing field to socially and educationally backward and economically weaker sections of the society so that they can compete for employment with those who are privileged and have better access to education and other amenities of life.
“Certain persons and their children have been excluded from the category of socially and educationally backward classes i.e. Governor (serving or retired), Chief Justice and judges (serving or retired) of High court or the Supreme Court of India, Chief Minister and Ex-Chief Minister, Ministers and Ex-Ministers of Cabinet rank etc etc”, the Court referred.