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WHY THIS CONTENTION?

  • The news came out when the Karnataka HC said that The Karnataka Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes does not have the powers to take up the role of a court or adjudicatory tribunal in deciding matters relating to the Act.
  • Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order recently while allowing a petition filed by MB Siddalingaswamy, a superintendent in the office of the Director of the Department of Pre-University Education.
  • Siddalingaswamy had questioned the Commission’s order dated November 11, 2016, directing the state government to accord retrospective seniority to KR Muralidhar with effect from September 17, 2012, and grant him all consequential monetary benefits, addition to correct date of entry into service of superintendent in the seniority list.

PROVISIONS UNDER THE RELEVANT ACT

  • The Court mentioned and highlighted that Sections 8 and 10 of the Karnataka State Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act makes it "abundantly clear" that the Commission is not empowered to adjudicate on the rights of parties.
  • Thus, the Commission adjudicating was not legally right and had to be quashed. The court also said that the powers conferred in the Act do not contemplate that the Commission can examine matters like a civil Court and adjudicate disputes and pronounce its decision.
  • The Court highlighted the powers vested under Article 338 of the Constitution whereby the Commission cannot be construed to be a Tribunal or a forum discharging the functions of a judicial character or Court. It said that Article 338 of the Constitution itself does not entrust the Commission with the power to take up the role of a Court or an adjudicatory Tribunal and determine the rights of parties.

PETITIONER'S ARGUMENTS

  • It was mentioned that the very petition in front of the Commission would not stand since one of the respondents being a Government servant had to approach the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal for redressal of his grievance and the Commission had no jurisdiction to issue directions.
  • The matter argued here was with reference to the order dated November 11, 2016, where the commission directed the State Government to accord retrospective seniority to the fifth respondent K.R. Muralidhar.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE ORDER PASSED BY THE KARNATAKA HIGH COURT? LET US KNOW YOUR VIEWS IN THE COMMENTS

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