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Validity of caste certificate considered afresh in favour of the appellant: Supreme Court of India.

Setting aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court Hon’ble M. R. Shah, J in the case of Rushikesh Bharat Garud vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors. [Civil Appeal No. 7422 of 2021], remanded the matter to the Scheduled Tribe Certificate Scrutiny Committee, Nashik (for short, ‘Scrutiny Committee’) to consider the validity of the caste certificate issued in favour of the appellant afresh along with the cases of his father and his cousins and held that the Scrutiny Committee has to pass fresh order/s in accordance with law and on its own merits and on the basis of the material available on record and/or that may be produced and pass a speaking order at the earliest.

The case arises out of a judgment passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, by which the High Court had dismissed a writ petition preferred by the appellants herein in which the appellant herein had challenged the order passed by the Scrutiny Committee, invalidating the caste certificate issued to the appellant, the original writ petitioner has preferred the present appeal.

From the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court, it appeared that before the High Court that the appellant heavily relied upon the validity certificates issued to his father well as to his cousins. The aforesaid was also the case of the appellant herein before the Scrutiny Committee. However, the Scrutiny Committee while not accepting the above submission observed that when the appellant’s father’s caste claim was considered, contradictory entries were not placed before the Scrutiny Committee. Neither were the original validity certificates relied upon by the appellant produced nor the genealogy. The Scrutiny Committee made identical observations regarding other validity certificates to the effect that the adverse entries were not placed on record. However, the fact remains that at the relevant time those caste certificates were not cancelled by the Scrutiny Committee.

It is the case on behalf of the appellant that the cases of the father of the appellant and his cousins have been re-opened and show cause notices have been issued to show cause why their caste certificates be not cancelled. Therefore, the validity of the caste certificates in favour of the father of the appellant and in favour of his cousins is at large before the Security Committee. Therefore, it will be appropriate if the cases of all, namely, father of the appellant, cousins of the appellant and the appellant herein be considered together, to avoid any conflicting orders.

Supreme court after perusing the facts and arguments presented, held that – “In view of the above and without expressing anything on the validity of the caste certificate issued in favour of the appellant, we set aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court and remand the matter to the Scrutiny Committee to consider the validity of the caste certificate issued in favour of the appellant afresh along with the cases of his father and his cousins. The Scrutiny Committee has to pass fresh order/s in accordance with law and on its own merits and on the basis of the material available on record and/or that may be produced and pass a speaking order at the earliest, preferably within a period of three months from today. At the cost of repetition, it is observed that this Court has not gone into the merits of the case at all and has not observed anything on the validity of the caste certificate issued in favour of the appellant. The present appeal is accordingly allowed to the aforesaid extent.”

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Judgement reviewed by Mehvish Alam

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