The Petitioners are determined to prove that their claim, which the Scrutiny Committee rejected, is valid. The Petitioners have challenged orders dated 30.12.2020 and 18.11.2020 passed by the Respondent- Scheduled Tribes Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee, Amravati, invalidating the caste certificate that they belong to Thakur-Scheduled Tribe, which is an entry at Serial No.44 in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. The Learned Judges A.S. CHANDURKAR AND ANUJA PRABHUDESSAI, J.J., pronounced this Judgment on 12.01.2022 in M.S. ANITA D/O SANJAY CHAVAN V. THE SCHEDULED TRIBES CASTE CERTIFICATE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE.
The Sub-Divisional Officer, Washim, awarded caste certificates to the petitioners from the Thakur-scheduled tribe. The Petitioners’ caste claim was forwarded to the Scrutiny Committee. The Petitioners cited several pre-constitutional texts and court rulings upholding the caste claim of close relatives. The Scrutiny Committee threw the papers out because, aside from the Thakur-Scheduled Tribes, there are ‘Thakur’ in other groups, necessitating the Petitioners’ establishment of a socio-cultural affinity test.
It is held that the Petitioner failed to prove ethnic and racial ties with existing Thakur-Scheduled tribes in Maharashtra through the social, cultural affinity test. The Committee did not rely on previous decisions in which this Court validated the caste claims of the Petitioners’ close family members based on suppression of the material fact that the Scrutiny Committee invalidated the caste claim of their paternal uncle Vijay and the challenge to this order was dismissed by the Division Bench of this Court in Writ Petition No.447 of 2002.
Mr. Parsodkar, experienced counsel for the Petitioners, contends that the pre-independence papers have a high level of probative value in proving the Petitioners’ caste claim. He further claims that this Court has recognized the caste claim of the Petitioners’ immediate relatives. As a result, the Scrutiny Committee was not justified in throwing out the papers and dismissing the Petitioners’ claim.
Ms. Mehta, learned AGP, contends that in the instance of Vijay s/o Ramchandra Chavhan (above), this Court affirmed the Scrutiny Committee’s Judgment and dismissed Vijay’s, the Petitioners’ paternal uncle’s, Thakur tribal claim. This Judgment was not brought to the Court’s attention, and as a result, the ruling approving the caste claim was gained via deception. As a result, she claims that the previous judgments cannot be used to decide the Petitioners’ caste claim.
According to the records, the Petitioners provided their respective fathers’ School Leaving Certificates, Madhukar Ramchandra Chavhan and Sanjay Ramchandra Chavhan, on which their caste is indicated as ‘Thakur.’ The Petitioners also submitted an extract from their grandpa Ramchandra’s 1943 school register, in which his caste is marked as ‘Thakur.’ Their great-grandpa Narayan’s caste is likewise recorded as ‘Thakur’ in an excerpt from his School Register and School Leaving Certificate.
In this case, the Petitioners presented the Scrutiny Committee with pre-constitutional records indicating their forebears’ caste as ‘Thakur.’
Although the Petitioners provided a complete genealogical tree, the Committee dismissed the documents with a cursory observation that the Petitioners had not established that the record holders are from the same family, with the additional statement that the said caste is also found in other communities.
In the case, Prakash s/o Shrawan Deore V. Scheduled Tribe Certificate Scrutiny Committee, the Court had taken judicial notice of the fact that the Scrutiny Committees have a habit of rejecting claims despite the presence of numerous genuine documents on file and despite the legal position being explicitly clarified by the Hon’ble Apex Court as well as the Division Benches of this Court’s judgments. However, rather than adopting the binding precedent, the Committees continue to repeat the same arguments deemed illegal, even after the Court has condemned such an attitude and approach.
After reviewing the arguments of both sides, the Learned Judge contends that the Committee’s arguments for dismissing the Petitioners’ caste claim are inherently unsustainable.
Reviewed by Rangasree