Central Government Delegates Power to States to Decide Caste, Community, Economic Status Certificate Issuers

Introduction

This article pertains to recent updates regarding the authorities empowered to issue Caste/Tribe/Community Certificates for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC), alongside Income Certificates for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in India.

DoP&T letter No. 36039/1/2019- Estt. (Res.-II) dated 15.03.24  Modification/revision in instructions regarding authorities competent to issue Caste/Tribe/Community Certificates in respect of SC/ST/OBC and Income & Asset Certificate in respect of EWS-reg.
Modification/revision in instructions regarding authorities competent to issue Caste/Tribe/Community Certificates in respect of SC/ST/OBC and Income & Asset Certificate in respect of EWS-reg.

Summary

In a significant move, the Central Government has delegated powers to State Governments and Union Territory (UT) Administrations to decide the competent authorities for issuing caste, tribe, community certificates for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), and income & asset certificates for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). This revision follows the Supreme Court’s guidelines in the Kumari Madhuri Patil case and aims to streamline the certificate issuance process across the country.

Background

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (DoPT) previously designated authorities across the country responsible for issuing these certificates. However, inconsistencies in adherence to these guidelines by some state governments and UT administrations caused unnecessary hardship for applicants.

Current Updates

To streamline the process and ensure uniformity, the DoPT has delegated the authority to designate issuing authorities for the aforementioned certificates to individual state governments and UT administrations. This signifies the following key changes:

  • State Responsibility: Each state government and UT administration now holds the sole responsibility for designating authorities competent to issue Caste/Tribe/Community Certificates (SC/ST/OBC) and Income Certificates (EWS).
  • Supreme Court Guidelines: The issuance and verification procedures for these certificates must adhere to the established guidelines set forth by the Honourable Supreme Court in the landmark judgement of “Kumari Madhuri Patil vs Addl. Commissioner.”
  • Transparency and Accessibility: State governments and UT administrations are mandated to upload details of the designated issuing authorities onto their respective official websites for public information and ease of access.

Central Government Modifies Earlier Instructions

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, has issued a letter modifying its earlier instructions from 1990, 1993, and 2019. These previous orders had prescribed the central authorities competent to issue caste, community, and economic status certificates.

State Governments to Decide and Publish Competent Authorities

As per the new instructions, the responsibility for issuing and verifying caste, tribe, community certificates for SC/ST/OBC, and income & asset certificates for EWS now lies with the respective State Governments and UT Administrations. They have been delegated the powers to decide the competent authorities for issuing these certificates, keeping in view the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the Kumari Madhuri Patil vs. Additional Commissioner case.

States to Streamline Certificate Issuance Process

The State Governments and UT Administrations are required to streamline the procedure for issuance and verification of these certificates, adhering to the Supreme Court’s directions. They must upload the details of the designated competent authorities on their respective websites, ensuring transparency and easy access to information for candidates.

Rationale Behind the Revision

The revision in instructions aims to address the concerns raised regarding the issuance of caste, community, and economic status certificates by authorities not prescribed by the DoPT, leading to hardships for candidates. By delegating the authority to State Governments and UT Administrations, the Central Government seeks to ensure a more efficient and streamlined process, aligning with the Supreme Court’s guidelines.

Implications for Candidates

This move is expected to benefit candidates seeking employment or educational opportunities by simplifying the process of obtaining the required certificates. With State Governments and UT Administrations empowered to decide the competent authorities, candidates can now refer to the respective state or UT websites for up-to-date information on the designated issuers of these crucial certificates.

The Central Government’s decision to delegate powers to State Governments and UT

Administrations regarding the issuance of caste, community, and economic status certificates is a significant step towards decentralization and addressing the challenges faced by candidates. It aligns with the Supreme Court’s directives and aims to streamline the certificate issuance process, ensuring transparency and accessibility for all.

Superseded Instructions

This revised notification supersedes all previous instructions issued by the DoPT concerning the designated authorities for issuing these certificates, including OM No. 36012/6/88-Estt (SCT) dated 24.4.1990, letter No. 36012/22/93-Estt (SCT) dated 15.11.1993, and OM No. No.36039/1/2019-Estt (Res) dated 31.01.2019.

Conclusion

Individuals seeking to avail benefits or opportunities designated for SC/ST/OBC or EWS categories are advised to visit the official website of their respective state government or UT administration to confirm the designated authorities empowered to issue the required Caste/Tribe/Community or Income Certificates. This revised system empowers state governments and UT administrations with greater autonomy in managing the issuance process while ensuring adherence to the established legal guidelines.

The article discusses several official letters relevant to the issuance of Caste/Tribe/Community (SC/ST/OBC) and Income (EWS) certificates in India. Here’s a breakdown of the letters mentioned:

  • Railway Board Order No.2021-E(SCT)I/25/2 (dated 24.04.2024): This order from the Railway Board informs all General Managers of Indian Railways and Production Units about a modification in the instructions regarding authorities issuing certificates. It essentially references a letter from the DoPT on the same topic.
  • DoPT Letter No. 36039/1/2019-Estt.(Res.-II) (dated 15.03.2024): This is the primary letter outlining the changes. It’s addressed by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) Establishment (Res) Section to the Chief Secretaries of all states and UTs.
  • DoPT OM No. 36012/6/88-Estt (SCT) (dated 24.4.1990): This is a previous DoPT order, now superseded, which specified authorities for issuing Caste/Tribe/Community Certificates.
  • DoPT Letter No. 36012/22/93-Estt (SCT) (dated 15.11.1993): Another superseded DoPT letter that previously outlined issuing authorities for Caste/Tribe/Community Certificates.
  • DoPT OM No. No.36039/1/2019-Estt (Res) (dated 31.01.2019): A previous DoPT order, now superseded, which specified authorities for issuing Income Certificates.

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