27 Jul 2121

The committee cannot verify a caste certificate which is issued by competent authority of another state - Supreme Court of India

Case : Aruna v. the State of Maharashtra and Others Civil Appeal No. 4457-4458 of 2021 and Civil Appeal No. 4459 of 2021

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : Justice Navin Sinha

Decided on : 27 Jul 2121

Relevant Statutes

Section 9A of the Maharashtra Municipal Council Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Townships Act,1965

Rules 6(1) (a), 6(1) (c), 14 of the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1. The father of the appellant was born in Maharashtra but migrated to Hyderabad in 1960 the appellant was born in Hyderabad and she afterwards migrated from the state of Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra. At that time, she was holding a valid caste certificate which was issued at Hyderabad. The appellant applied for and obtained a caste certificate from the sub-divisional officer, Maharashtra as she wanted to contest an election for the post of president municipal council. 

2. On 22.10.2018, the district caste verification committee declined to verify the caste certificate under Rule 14 of the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012 which results in she stood retrospectively disqualified to hold the post of president of the municipal council, under section 9a of the Maharashtra Municipal Council Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Townships Act, 1965.

3. The appellant assails the dismissal of her writ petition and the review petition by the High Court.

The Issue of the Case

Whether the High Court has committed an error in not interfering with the judgment of the committee?

The Observations of the court:

1. The Honourable Supreme Court observed that the High Court has completely misdirected in holding that the appellant had been issued a caste certificate under rule 6(1)(c)  and was ineligible to contest an election in the state of Maharashtra. The Honourable Supreme Court observed that the committee had patently erred in declining to verify her caste certificate on 22.10.2018 which was based on a misconception of facts.

2. The Honourable Supreme Court observed that the committee cannot verify a caste certificate that is issued by the competent authority of another state under the proviso to rule 14 as the caste certificate was issued by the competent authority in the state of Maharashtra, not by the authority in Hyderabad. The honourable supreme court observed that the high court has committed an error of record in examining the claim of the appellant under rule 6(1) (c) which deals with the migration based on caste certificate and also fails in appreciating that the appellant held a valid caste certificate from the competent authority under rule 6(1) (a).

The Honourable Supreme Court observed that she stood retrospectively disqualified to her elected post of president. The Honourable Supreme Court observed that the appellant was not seeking the reserved status for the purpose of education or employment. 

Decision Held by the Court

The Honourable Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court.

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