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The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993
Section 2 in The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993
Section 13 in The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993

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Allahabad High Court
Qamruddin vs District Magistrate And Ors. on 26 August, 2004
Equivalent citations: 2005 (1) AWC 435
Bench: M Katju, U Pandey

JUDGMENT

M. Katju and Umeshwar Pandey, JJ.

1. This special appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of the learned single Judge dated 28.7.2004. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and find no infirmity in the impugned judgment.

2. The facts in detail have been set out in the judgment of the learned single Judge and hence it is not necessary for us to repeat the same except where necessary.

3. The appellant is a Shiekh and he claims to be O.B.C. The post of Pradhan in question was reserved for O.B.C. and hence obviously if the appellant is not an O.B.C. he is not eligible for the said post. The question is whether the appellant is an O.B.C.

4. The learned single Judge in a well considered judgment has noted that 'Sheikh' does not denote a Muslim caste. It is a title of respect and it is not a title for any particular caste. He relied on a decision of this Court in Shamiuddin v. Addl. District Judge (I) Mathura and Ors., 1998 (1) AWC 536 : 1998 (98) RD 109. We have carefully perused the impugned judgment of the learned single Judge as well as the judgment in the case of Shamiuddin v. Addl. District Judge (i) Mathura and Ors., and we are in respectful agreement with the view taken therein.

"The meaning of the word 'Sheikh' as given in the Encyclopedia Britanica-1960 Edition Vol.. 20 may aptly be quoted as under :

"Sheikh (SHIEKH OR SHAYKH), an Arabic title of. respect dating from Pre-lslamic authority, strictly means a venerable man, of more than 50 years of age. It is specifically borne by heads of religious orders, heads of college (e.g. Al Azhar in Cairo), Chiefs of tribes and headmen of villages and of separate quarters of town. It is also applied to learned men, especially members of the class of "ulama' and has been applied to any one who had memorized the whole Koran, however, young he might be,"

Combined with other terms the word is used in various titles, Sheikk al-balad, mayor of a town Sheikh-al-jabal ("the mountain chief), a popular term for the head of the Assassins mistranslated by the crusaders as "the Old Man of the Mountain. By far the most important of these is the title Sheikh al-Islam, which by the 1lth century A.D. was being given to eminent 'ulama' and mystics and by the 15th century could be claimed by any outstanding mufti. In the Ottoman Empire this title was restricted by Suleman I (1520-66) to mufti of Instantbul, who was equal in rank to the grand vizier and was head of the religious institutions which controlled law, justice and religion, and education. Because of his right to issue legally binding 'fatwas' (opinions) this official came to wield great power. In 1924 under the Turkish Republic, the last vestiges of the institution were abolished."

According to Webster's Third New International Dictionary Volume III 'Sheikh' means 'head of an Arabic family, clan, tribe or village. An Arab Chief, a Governor, a Prince among peoples of Arabian or Muslim descent. According to Oxford Dictionary 'Shiekh' means Chief head of Arab tribe family or village, title of eminent Muslim and according to Collins Dictionary, 'Shiekh' means the head of an Arab tribe, village etc. The New Lexicons Webster's Dictionary defines 'Shiekh' as "a title of respect used by Arab, an Arab Chief, head of family, or a headman of a village."

It is thus evident that 'Sheikh' is a title of respect. Such title, it cannot be gainsaid, is not the. exclusive privilege of a member of Upper/Forward Class. A person belonging to a Muslim Backward Class may also be given such a title of respect by the people of his community."

5. The learned counsel for the appellant has relied on another single Judge decision of this Court in Hotilal v. State of U.P. through District Election Officer, Etah and Ors., 2002 (3) UPLBEC 2024. We have carefully perused the said judgment in Hotilal's case and we are in respectful disagreement with the view taken therein.

6. It is well-settled that this Court can neither add nor delete any Scheduled Caste or Backward Caste from the list of castes mentioned in the relevant Act or Notification providing for reservations in the U.P. Public Services. In the U.P. Public Services (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes) Act, 1994. Other Backward Classes of citizens has been defined in Section 2 (b) as Backward Classes of items specified in Scheduled I. As per Section 13 of the Act the State Government by Notification can amend the Schedule. In Schedule I by means of G.O. dated 15-9-1997 Item No. 62 Shiekh, Sarvari (Pirai), Pirahi has been shown among the backward class.

7. If may be mentioned that by the Government order dated 5.11.1998, Sheikh was shown to be a separate Backward Caste, but by means of rectification made on 31.5.1998 in the Government order dated 5.11.1998 the error was rectified and in Item No. 62, Sheikh Sarvari (Pirai) was shown as one of the castes in the list of Backward Classes. Similar was the situation in the Government order dated 25.4.2000.

8. By means of U. P. Ordinance No. 2/02 dated 6.6.2002 the entry "Sheikh Sarvari (Pirai) Pirahi" was corrected by removing the comma between 'Sheikh' and 'Sarvari'. The same position has been retained in the G.O. dated 16.2.2003. We have also been shown the Notification dated 20.9.2003 in which it is clearly mentioned that 'Sheikh Sarvari (Pirai)' is in fact only one caste and not different castes. Hence, we are In agreement with the judgment of the learned single Judge.

9. The appeal is hence dismissed.