Invalidation of caste claim will result in automatic disqualification and termination of election

Bombay High Court: While upholding an order passed by the Commissioner, Solapur Municipal Corporation wherein the petitioner was declared disqualified and his seat was deemed to have fallen vacant on the basis of invalidation of his caste claim by the caste scrutiny committee, the Division Bench comprising of Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai, JJ. held that such invalidation will result in automatic disqualification and retrospective termination of election of candidate. The Court relying upon Kalpana Dilip Bahirat v. Pune Municipal Corporation, 2014 (15) SCC 654, further held that Commissioners of Municipal Corporation while declaring such candidates as disqualified, act in accordance with law and it cannot be said that they have no jurisdiction in this regard.

The petitioner has relied upon birth extracts of his father and uncle from Birth and Death Register of Village Badhole, two loan receipts given by his father to one Fulchand Heblekar and to one Basappa Aadake, and Khoti Receipt between his uncle and one Bhimu Patil to support his caste claim that he belongs to “Teli” caste. On perusal of birth and death registers of Village Nanhegaon the Court found that the petitioner and his forefather were resident of Village Nanhegaon and entries in birth and death registers of Village Badhole appeared to be suspicious. Also, it was noted that there was no signature of Petitioner’s father on the loan receipts and there was vast difference in Fulchand Heblekar’s and Basappa Aadake’s signatures made at the time of purchase of stamp and signatures made at the time of execution of the document. Therefore it was concluded that the receipts were bogus and fabricated. The Khoti receipt was not considered since it was on simple paper, not registered. Also, it was shown that the caste of petitioner’s brother, aunts, sons, and cousin brother was recorded in their school leaving certificates as “Lingayat”.

The petitioner also challenged the Circular dated 17th July, 2013, issued by the State Election Commission of Maharashtra by which the Municipal Commissioners were authorised to pass orders declaring any Councillor as disqualified on account of his caste claim being invalidated by the caste scrutiny committee. The Court refused to entertain the challenge noting that the conduct of the petitioner in the present case is such that he cannot be permitted to invoke the discretionary jurisdiction under Article 226 and the petition was accordingly dismissed. [Jagdish Revansiddha Patil v. State of Maharashtra, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 9008 , decided on 21 October, 2016]

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