Bombay HC: Surname cannot be conclusive to decide caste claim

Bombay High Court: In a petition challenging the decision of the Caste Scrutiny Committee invalidating the caste certificate of the petitioner, a Division Bench comprising of A.S. Oka and Vibha Kankanwadi, JJ. remanded the caste verification back to the Committee, thereby quashing its judgment and order.

The petitioner came to be elected as the President of the Pajapur Municipal Council, which was reserved for backward classes. His documents along with the caste certificate where his caste was shown as “Machhimar (Daldi)” were sent for verification and was subsequently cancelled.

The respondents contended that many documents that had been filed by the petitioner had many interpolations, corrections and therefore were forged. On the other hand, the petitioner argued that such an inference was wrong, since no expert opinion had been sought out and that the surname of the petitioner cannot affirm his caste. According to the petitioner, the Committee should have applied the affinity test by collecting “information including sociological, anthropological, ethnological and genetical traits of the caste” as per the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Denotified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012.

The Court held that the approach of the Committee was erroneous and that the matter was remanded for fresh inquiry regarding affinity test. Also, the petitioner was directed not to rely on the allegedly forged documents after remand. [Hanif Musa Kazi v. State of Maharashtra, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 5729, decided on 13.07.2017]

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