Submission of a fake certificate to secure a government job should be treated as a criminal offence, carrying a seven-year jail term, the law ministry has advised the government. Mere sacking of those found guilty of the crime is not enough, it added.
In its opinion to the human resources development ministry with regard to a former Kendriya Vidyalaya teacher, the legal arm of the government said that production of a fake certificate — stating that the candidate belonged to the Scheduled Tribe category — amounted to "forgery and cheating" under the IPC."Those found guilty of having produced fake SC/ST certificates to get a job have not only cheated the country, but also denied a genuine candidate from getting a job. No leniency should be shown in such cases," the law ministry wrote. "A criminal offence is clearly made out under Sections 420 and 468 of the IPC."
The law ministry's response came on a letter from the Kendriya Vidyalalya Sangathan, stating that though a former history teacher at KV, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, was found guilty of having produced a fake ST certificate, no further action was required because she had already quit the job. "The caste certificate provided by Ms Vimla Singh was found to be fake, following a verification report sent by the district magistrate of Ghazipur... Since she submitted her resignation in 2008, it has been decided that no further action is required," the KVS said.
The law ministry, however, refused to accept the contention. It stated that a senior official in the HRD ministry had also complained about the conduct of the teacher's husband, who is posted in the law ministry.
Sunil Kumar, former additional secretary in the HRD ministry (currently posted as the chief secretary of Chhattisgarh), had complained to the law ministry that the teacher's husband, PB Singh, a joint secretary in the law ministry, had tried to influence him to scuttle the probe.
Singh, however, denied the allegation. "Kumar was a colleague, I used to meet him purely on a professional basis and nothing else," he said.