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Caste Certificate – Ordinary Residence Of Applicant Cannot Be Determined In A Summary Enquiry: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court  Nagpur Bench through the learned bench consisting of Justices  A. S. Chandurkar and Urmila Joshi-Phalk in the case of Ku. Priyanka v. District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee, Chandrapur (Writ Petition No. 919 of 2020)

FACTS OF THE CASE

Based on her caste certificate, the petitioner asked for confirmation of her caste claim. The Scrutiny Committee found that Rule 5 (1), (2), and Rule 14 of the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance of Verification of Caste Certificate Rules, 2012) were broken by the petitioner’s caste certificate (2012 Rules). The caste certificate was revoked by the Committee after it was deemed invalid. The order was contested by the petitioner before the High Court.

OBSERVATION OF THE COURT:

According to the court, it must be determined by giving the applicant the opportunity to prove that they are an ordinary resident of the area covered by the competent authority’s territorial jurisdiction.

The petitioner’s scholastic and professional prospects may be harmed by the Committee’s determination that the petitioner is a migrant, the court underscored, noting that this possibility. Therefore, it is essential that the procedure outlined by the Rules of 2012 be followed before such a finding is recorded. The court additionally noted that Rule 14 of the 2012 Rules forbids the Scrutiny Committee from verifying a caste certificate when it is issued to a migrant from another State. A caste certificate obtained by a claimant from a source other than the State of Maharashtra cannot be confirmed.

The arbitral tribunal emphasized  the significance of the Commission’s finding  that the petitioner was a migrant and noted that such a finding could affect the petitioner’s academic and service prospects. It is therefore essential that before such a finding is registered, the procedure under the 2012 Rules must be followed.

The court directed the Scrutiny Committee to re-examine the petitioner’s claim following the prescribed procedure including conducting an enquiry by the Vigilance Cell, if required.

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Judgement reviewed by – Sudarshana Jha

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