DC Nullifies ALC Certificates Of JKAS Officers, Siblings
The Deputy Commissioner of Poonch made a rare and significant decision to cancel the ALC certificates of two officers in JKAS who were selected for the Combined Administrative Services through Public Service Commission in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017. The officers, Sumit Kumar Sharma and Sunaina Sharma, who are siblings and residents of Ari in Mendhar, were appointed based on the ALC category issued by Tehsildar Mendhar at that time.
However, their ALC certificates were cancelled by District Magistrate Inder Jeet due to being issued against the mandate of Jammu Kashmir Reservation Act 2004. The selection list was released on December 18, 2017.
As per the detailed order, the certificates were issued with blatant irregularities, with the issuing authority and officials involved being careless and casual. District Magistrate Inder Jeet ordered the SDM Mendhar to investigate the matter within a given timeframe. The appellants’ lawyers, Mobeen Khan and Alyas Khawaja, mentioned that the judgment was well-explained, reasonable, and a significant decision. The court investigated the matter in-depth by invalidating the ALC certificates of all siblings except for Jyoti Sharma, who is the daughter of Harbans Lal Sharma, a resident of Ari, and currently living in Gohlad in Mendhar.
Anjum Imtiaz, a JKAS aspirant from Harni in Mendhar, challenged the ALC certificates of Sumit Kumar Sharma, Sunaina Sharma, Jyoti Sharma, Amit Kumar Sharma, Ram Murti Sharma, and Harbans Lal on May 29, 2018. The certificates were issued by the Tehsildar Mendhar and were deemed illegal, arbitrary, against the law and facts, and void ab-initio in her appeal to the court of District Magistrate Poonch. She further claimed that the respondents’ income exceeded the ceiling prescribed by SRO-294, which is Rs 3 lakh from all sources except agriculture, during 2011.
To be eligible for benefits under the Backward Area Certificate or ALC, one must show that they have lived in the area for at least 15 years before applying. However, in this case, the individuals in question did not meet this requirement. They had lived in Jammu for an extended period, and Harbans Lal, a government employee, could not deceive the authorities about his income. The District Magistrate’s court also scrutinized the local school certificates of these individuals.
The District Magistrate’s order stated, “After reviewing the facts, it has been found that the appeal succeeds on merit, and the ALC category certificate issued by Tehsildar Mendhar on 14-7-2011 in favor of respondents (except respondent No 3 Jyoti Sharma) are cancelled ab-initio. However, considering the condition imposed by the High Court of J&K in its order dated 22-10-2019 passed in WP (C) No. 3897/2019, in the case titled Sumit Kumar Sharma Vs State of J&K and others, the decision of this court shall remain subject to the final outcome of the writ petition pending before the High Court.”
The SDM Mendhar was directed to conduct a thorough investigation into the actions of the concerned officials while processing and issuing the certificates, by assigning responsibility within two weeks. It should be noted that this is only the beginning of the problem. In Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Udhampur, Kishtwar, and other parts of Kashmir valley, significant irregularities have occurred even in the issuance of RBA certificates to obtain such benefits. If various authorities in different districts order such an investigation, many people could be held accountable.