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Saturday, April 16, 2016

it took 23 years to end - impersonation in Govt job !!

A couple of decades ago, have seen people impersonate and write examinations [especially Arrears] for their friends .. .. ..  a classmate of mine once sold his Typewriting (lower) Original for a pittance to another friend [having the same name] – that person somehow could not pass TW and after a few failed attempts, bought the Certificate of his namesake, submitted the original and got a job – the lender had by that time passed Higher in style and did not require the lower certificate. !!

Remember the blockbuster ‘ 3 Idiots / Nanban / Snehithudu’, a  film that  distinctively  featured inventions ingenuously made.   When the two friends try finding out the other colleague who was so innovative in their college, comes the turn that a rich Estate owner had in fact utilized their servant to study in guise and his son taking the credits.  Impersonations are nothing new in Cinema. 

Way back in 1980 came the Rajnikant blockbuster ‘Billa’ – storyline featuring a mafia don, who gets fatally wounded in an encounter.  The police plant a decoy, a villager impersonating the don and providing vital clues ~ [though the film ran for many days, I always feel, that naming of the movie  after a cruel criminal was in bad taste].  The film Kathi was about Jeevanandam, a social activist fighting a MNC -  a small time thief swaps position bringing about some good results.  In ‘Naan’ – an young student is caught forging the signature for a friend, the events take an ugly turn, making him turn a killer.  On release, with none to fall back, he decides to go to Chennai in pursuit of a life – the bus meets with an accident – he picks up the certificate of a fellow passenger,  joins  medical college by changing his identity.

Well this is no cinema review – but an interesting story of impersonation, portrayed in different perspective by 2 news papers.

Indian Express, Chennai edition reported that – after  20 years of legal battle to claim her right to employment which was fraudulently taken away by an impersonator, R Parvathi finally got justice. Parvathi, who had registered with the employment exchange at Thudiyalur in Coimbatore, was called for an interview for a vacancy of Class IV employee in Pollachi. After attending the interview, Pravathi thought she had not been selected and went to the exchange to renew her employment card. However, officials said that she had already been appointed in the Pollachi Commissioner’s office.

Smelling something fishy, she found out that Pollachi councillor’s wife has impersonated her and got the job which was due to her. Parvathi began knocking at the doors of justice in 1996 by filing original application. It was only in 2009 that Parvathi’s application was taken as writ petition and the Madras High Court ruled in her favour after finding that the impersonator, who goes by the name Parvathi, changed her father’s name to get the job which was due to the other Parvathi.

Not only that, there were several anomalies in service register, including that of overwriting the initial. But then her misery did not end and the impersonator filed an appeal in 2012. It was only in 2016 that she got relief when Justice S Vaidyanathan ordered to provide suitable employment to R Parvathi. Judge Vaidyanathan also ordered the municipality to recover the amount from the impersonator as she cannot claim wages on such an alleged act. “The case requires a proper investigation by law enforcement agency to book the culprits who were responsible and involved in the acts of creating records and altering data, thereby abetting impersonation,” Judge Vaidyanathan added.

Times of India reported the same story, more from the imposter angle.  It took 23 years and two judicial orders for state agencies and the Pollachi municipality to end the fraudulent career of a woman who brazenly impersonated another with the same name, bagged her job in the municipality , changed her father's name, date of birth and educational qualifications. Now that Parvathi's game is up, the Madras high court recently  upheld a single judge order to discontinue her `service' and recommended criminal action against the authorities for failure to take action against her. It also ordered the authorities to recover the salary that Parvathi received.

Parvathi took up the post in Pollachi municipality in 1990, though another Parvathi, the daughter of Rangam, was senior to her phoney namesake in the employment exchange records and went through the selection process. The fraud came to light in 1993, when the real Parvathi went to employment exchange to renew her seniority. Parvathi was informed that she was already working in the municipality. She then found that a woman was impersonating her in the office. On being informed that the process could not done because she was already working in the municipality , she checked and found that a woman was impersonating her in the office. She lodged a complaint with officials but, when they failed to take action, she filed a writ petition in the high court.

In his order, the single judge said that though her age was beyond the eligible limit for the Class IV job -which is between 18 and 30 years -the authorities allowed her to take up the post without any evidence. They accepted as proof a mere declaration and medical certificate. She managed to get the date of birth mentioned in the service register erased and altered to show that she was born in 1960 and had her educational qualifications changed to show that she was literate. Her father's name was noted as “Rengan“ when in the sponsorship letter of the employment exchange,  of 1990 had the fraudulent candidate's husband's name, Palanisamy . “Therefore, there is absolutely no possibility to say that the entries have been inadvertently made in the service register. This court is of the view that Parvathi had impersonated the real Parvathi, and [she is] not entitled to continue in service,“ he said.

Pointing out that the genuine Parvathi had been deprived of her employment, and she had been litigating since 1997, the single judge said she should be given a suitable job within six weeks. But the imposter would not give up. She filed an appeal against the ruling. Dismissing her appeal, a division bench of Justice R Sudhakar and Justice S Vaidyanathan said, “An impersonator cannot claim wages on the alleged act. The case requires proper investigation by law enforcement agencies to book culprits who are responsible [for] creating records, altering data, etc, thereby abetting impersonation.”

Section 416 in The Indian Penal Code :   Cheating by personation.—A person is said to “cheat by personation” if he cheats by pretending to be some other person, or by knowingly substituting one person for another, or representing that he or any other person is a person other than he or such other person really is.   According to Sec 419 : Punishment for cheating by personation.—Whoever cheats by personation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Apr 2016.

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