Caste certificate cannot be rejected on the basis of territorial jurisdiction: High Court of Bombay at Aurangabad

In the present case, the Petitioners filed a writ petition stating that they are members of the Thakur Scheduled Tribe and were issued with the tribe certificate by the Sub Divisional Officer, Dhule, and the Sub Divisional Officer, Shirpur respectively. A division-judge bench comprising Justice S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice R.N. Laddha adjudicating Rajendra v. The State of Maharashtra (WRIT PETITION NO. 8473 OF 2021) dealt with the issue of whether the petitioner was eligible to get the caste certificate or not.

The petitioner based on the said caste certificates was referred to the Scrutiny Committee and they disposed of the proceedings on the ground that the caste certificates were not issued by the authority within its territorial jurisdiction. Also, after that, they applied to the Sub Divisional Officer, Nandurbar for getting the tribe certificates. The same is rejected on the ground of area restriction and that the petitioners have not proved the affinity test.

The Respondents stated that the writ petition is not maintainable in the regular course as the petitioners have a remedy of appeal. It is submitted that Petitioner No.2 is appearing for the NEET examination and exploring the possibility of admission to the professional course. It is submitted the petitioners were already issued with caste certificates but the committee came to the conclusion that the territorial jurisdiction vests with the Nandurbar Sub Divisional Officer for issuing the caste certificates.

The petitioners referred to the validity issued to the paternal cousins and a school record of the petitioners’ father of the year 1974, petitioners’ grandfather of the years 1952 and 1953, and the great-grandfather of the years 1934 1946. All these entries record the caste as “Thakur”.

The court held that” Sub Divisional Officer has rejected the application on the ground of area restriction and the affinity test. The documentary evidence supports the case of the petitioners. The same was sufficient for the issuance of a caste certificate. It is trite that at the time of issuance of the caste certificate formal inquiry is not contemplated. Prima-facie satisfaction of the authority is sufficient.”

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