calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: A single bench comprising of Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya,* J., allowed the writ petition and set aside the impugned rejection of the petitioner’s claim for an OBC Certificate and remanded back the matter to the concerned Block Development Officer (BDO) for a fresh consideration.

Brief Facts

In the instant matter, the petitioner preferred an application to obtain an Other Backward Classes (OBC) certificate, but the same was rejected by the authorities involved in the process. The rejection was upheld by the BDO and the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO). Aggrieved by the same, the petitioner preferred present writ petition before this Court challenging the rejection.


The petitioner contended that the authorities rejected the application without considering the documents supporting the claim, inside relied on a vague and cryptic “enquiry report” that was not provided to the petitioner and also did not provide a copy of it to the petitioner. The petitioner contended that despite affidavits being exchanged, the respondent authorities chose not to participate in the final hearing, leading to an ex parte hearing and the petitioner was not given a proper opportunity to present his case and produce relevant documents.

The petitioner contended that BDO’s rejection was based on a brief and ambiguous enquiry report, which merely mentioned the petitioner’s sub-caste as “Sadgope” belonging to the General Caste and the same was upheld by the Appellate Authority without providing any concrete evidence in favor of the petitioner’s appeal.

Court's Observation

The Court observed that the BDO’s rejection and the Appellate Authority's decisions are lacking in proper consideration of the petitioner’s documents and field enquiry report. The Court further observed that sufficient materials had been produced by the petitioner to raise doubts about the rejection based on mere classification as a “Sadgope” community member, as this community could be classified under different castes, including OBC.

“…the considerations by both the authorities were extremely cryptic. The BDO as well as the appellate authority shirked their responsibility and refused to act in accordance with law in rejecting the petitioner's application without giving the petitioner an opportunity to produce relevant documents and to deal with the field enquiry report.”

Court’s Verdict

While allowing the writ petition, the Court set aside the impugned rejection of the petitioner’s claim for an OBC certificate and remanded back the matter to the concerned BDO for a fresh consideration of the application.

The Court directed the BDO to conduct a fresh inquiry by calling for a report and giving the petitioner an opportunity to produce all documents in support of his claim. The BDO was also required to provide the petitioner and/or his representative with a copy of the enquiry report. The BDO was further instructed to pass a reasoned order explaining the decision based on the fresh inquiry.

The Court clarified that either party could challenge the BDO’s decision before the appellate authority. The previous observations made by the Court were not to influence the authorities’ decisions on merits, and they were expected to conduct a fresh inquiry in accordance with the law.

[Susanta Ghosh v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 2250, order dated 02-08-2023]

*Judgment by Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Anil Kr. Chatterjee, Mr. Dinesh Pani, Counsel for the Petitioner

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