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In Case Of Mohammedans, Caste Claim Can’t Be Decided On Surname Basis: Bombay HC [Read Judgment]

Nitish Kashyap
19 July 2017 4:49 PM GMT
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Quashing and setting aside an order passed by the Caste Scrutiny Committee, which invalidated the caste claim of the petitioner, the Bombay High Court has said such claim cannot be decided on the basis of his surname.

A division bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice Vibha Kankanwadi allowed the writ petition and ordered the Caste Committee to call for a fresh report under Rule 13 and clause (d) of Sub-Rule (1) of the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Denotified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012.

Case Background

The petitioner, Hanif Musa Kazi, challenged the order of Caste Scrutiny Committee dated May 22, 2017, which invalidated his claim.

Kazi’s certificate stated that Machimar (Daldi) was his caste. He was elected as the president of Rajapur Municipal Council on the basis of the said certificate as it was a reserved seat.

Appearing for the petitioner, CK Bhangoji submitted that the committee had relied upon a document procured from the Maritime Board in order to cancel the caste claim. He said the document was related to Kazi’s father and the committee did not give his client an opportunity to submit his say on its authenticity.

Relying on the observations of the Supreme Court in Smt Bismilla Mohammedsab Sayyed (Mujawar) v/s Divisional Caste Certificate Committee, Bhangoji said a wrong inference has been drawn that the said document is forged one and surname of the petitioner could not reveal his caste.

In the said case, the apex court had observed: “It cannot be disputed that in case of the Mohammedans, there were no recognized castes or sub castes and therefore, as in the case of Hindus, there is no likelihood of finding any entry of the caste of a person of Mohammedans religion in old records.”

The court noted that the committee had said that many documents produced by the petitioner have been forged. However, the court also noted: “When the Committee was of the opinion that the documents produced by the petitioner cannot be relied, and the Committee was considering the Vigilance Cell report, it ought to have directed the Cell to collect the requisite information including sociological, anthropological, ethnological and genetical traits of caste canvassed by petitioner. In the present case, the said exercise was necessary as we have already observed earlier that there is no likelihood of any entry of caste recorded in old record in the case of Mohammedans.

We agree that the surname of the petitioner cannot be conclusive for deciding his caste claim. Therefore, even though petitioner's surname is Kazi, we cannot presume that he was doing such activities which can be performed by a Kazi in his religion.”

Therefore, the bench held that the committee had not conducted a proper affinity test and its approach was erroneous.

Read the Judgment Here

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