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Bombay High Court Orders Issuance Of Provisional Caste Certificate For Higher Studies While Student's Uncle's Caste Certificate Is Under The Scanner

Fatima Ansari
19 April 2022 2:30 PM GMT
Bombay High Court Orders Issuance Of Provisional Caste Certificate For Higher Studies While Students Uncles Caste Certificate Is Under The Scanner
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The Bombay High court recently held that till final withdrawal of caste certificate of Petitioner's uncle by the competent authority, she is entitled to benefits sought for by relying upon the said Certificate. A bench of Justices Sunil B. Shukre and G.A. Sanap noted that even though there are genuine concerns regarding the validity of the Petitioner's uncle's caste certificate...

The Bombay High court recently held that till final withdrawal of caste certificate of Petitioner's uncle by the competent authority, she is entitled to benefits sought for by relying upon the said Certificate.

A bench of Justices Sunil B. Shukre and G.A. Sanap noted that even though there are genuine concerns regarding the validity of the Petitioner's uncle's caste certificate and the same is under reconsideration, yet until it not withdrawn, the Petitioner is entitled to benefits accruing from it.

The Petitioner had challenged an order of the Scheduled Tribe Certificate Scrutiny Committee, Nashik (Scrutiny Committee) invalidating her caste certificate as belonging to Thakur Scheduled Tribe. The Petitioner applied to Scrutiny Committee seeking verification of her caste certificate, issued by the Competent Authority, as she was required to submit the validity certificate as a condition precedent for prosecuting studies under the reserved category i.e. scheduled tribe.

She submitted a number of documents including two pre-constitution period documents and caste validity certificate issued to Sachin Nana Shinde, a real uncle. According to the Petitioner, without considering the pre-constitution period documents and validity certificate, the Scrutiny Committee rejected her tribe claim. No reasons have been recorded.

The Scrutiny Committee submitted that it has taken into consideration all the documents produced on record. In some of the pre-constitution period documents the caste of the relatives was shown as 'Hindu Thakur' or 'Hindu Maratha Thakur'. The entries were self-contradictory. No convincing evidence was placed on record.

Further, the Caste Scrutiny Committee during the course of enquiry found that the caste certificate of the uncle of the Petitioner got validated without proper material. The Committee, therefore, issued a show cause notice to the uncle of the Petitioner for invalidating the scheduled tribe claim. The Petitioner was granted an opportunity of hearing. The Vigilance Cell Report was submitted by the police. The report did not support the Petitioner. The material collected during the vigilance enquiry did not establish the cultural affinity of the Petitioner with the scheduled tribe community. The Committee has recorded the reasons.

The bench noted that the Committee has ordered that the decision of granting caste validity in favour of uncle of the Petitioner is required to be reconsidered by issuing a show cause notice to him. Hence, the validity certificate issued in favour of the uncle of the Petitioner is the subject matter of enquiry and fate of the same depends upon the outcome of the said enquiry.

The bench observed that a perusal of the Vigilance Report would show that from the documents obtained during the course of enquiry, the caste of the other blood relatives of the Petitioner was mentioned as 'Hindu Thakur'. It is to be noted that except the document of great grandfather of the Petitioner and the caste verification certificate of the uncle, there is no other evidence. The document of the great grandfather is of the year 1911. The bench opined that this document deserves due regard.

However, the bench said, the subsequent decision taken by the Scrutiny Committee to reconsider the validity certificate issued in favour of the uncle of the Petitioner, it would be necessary to adopt a very cautious approach in this case.

In this case the validity certificate issued to the uncle of the Petitioner is not finally withdrawn and so the bench said, "In our opinion, till its final withdrawal the benefits sought for by the Petitioner relying upon the same could not be denied to her. The pre-constitution period document of great grandfather would also come to the rescue of the Petitioner."

In this light, the bench thought it right to not deny the Petitioner benefits on the basis of the caste certificate and directed the Scrutiny Committee to issue the validity certificate provisionally.

Case Title : Akanksha Babasaheb Shinde v State of Maharashtra and ors

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 147

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

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