Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench comprising of GS Patel and Kamal Khata*, JJ., upheld the Caste Certificate issued by the Deputy Collector, Mumbai Suburban to the 1st Respondent and dismissed the petition brought before in under Article 226 of the Constitution by the petitioner. The Court was of the view that the petition was yet another attempt by a disgruntled candidate who had lost in elections against their rival.


Through a writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner challenged the validity of a Caste Certificate issued by the Competent Authority Mumbai Suburban to the 1st Respondent on the ground that the Competent Authority Mumbai City alone had the jurisdiction to issue the same. Both parties were rival election candidates, wherein 1st Respondent was the successful candidate.

Counsel for the respondent contended that the Caste Certificate was granted by the Deputy Collector Mumbai Suburban post considering all the relevant material, and in accordance with the law prevalent at the time- Niraj Kamlakar More v. Scheduled Tribe Certificate Scrutiny Committee, 2012 SCC OnLine Bom 739.

Findings and Decisions

The Court perused Rules 3 and 5 of the Maharashtra Scheduled Caste, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of ) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012 (Caste Certificate Rules), referring to Conditions of residence for issuance of Caste Certificates, and the Procedure to be followed by the Competent Authority for issuance of Caste Certificate or rejection of application for Caste Certificate, respectively.

The Court said that, for the purpose of issuing Caste Certificate, the 1st Respondent’s place of ordinary residence could only be their father’s permanent residence, and that there was no bifurcation of Mumbai City on the deemed date i.e., 13-10-1967.

Referring to a 2010 notification as per which, any applicant for a Caste Certificate was mandated to apply to that Competent Authority where the applicant’s father or grandfather resided, the Court said that the 1st Respondent was required to apply to Mumbai Suburban. Further, the Court pointed out that if the Respondent was not entitled to apply to the Mumbai Suburban Authority, then the said Authority would have been required by law to direct the applicant to apply from Mumbai City, which was not the case. However, the Competent Authority, Mumbai Suburban never asked the respondent to apply before the Competent Authority at Mumbai City.

The Court considered Namdeo v. Scheduled Tribe Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee, 2014 SCC OnLine Bom 1872, in detail wherein a contrary view was held. It was held in Namdeo (supra) that a person cannot apply for a Caste Certificate as per his choice and if he wants a Caste Certificate, he must apply to the concerned competent officer of the area or place to which such applicant originally belongs, means his father, forefathers belong to.

Post perusal of the aforementioned case, the Court emphasised on the guidelines laid down in Namdeo (supra) that when an application is received by Competent Authority for the issuance of Caste Certificate, the Authority should make enquiry and verify the area or the place to which the applicant or his forefathers originally belonged to and after such verification, the Competent Authority must direct the applicant to go to the appropriate competent authority, as the case may be.

Stating further in the light of the facts of the instant case, the Court said that although the 1st Respondent was residing in Mumbai City on the deemed date 13-10- 1967, he was an ordinary resident of Mumbai Suburban since 1968. The Court also noted that in this duration (1967-68)there was a singular Competent Authority for Mumbai City, which was only bifurcated into Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban in 1990.

The Court referred to the case of Madhuri Patil v. Addl. Commr., Tribal Development, (1997) 5 SCC 437, where the Supreme Court had observed that in case of migration to a town or city, the place from which the applicant originally hails should be visited, verified, and all the details of the social status claimed by the applicant or their parents be considered by the Competent Authority, before the issuing Caste Certificate

Consequently, the Court held in the instant case that the Deputy Collector, Mumbai Suburban had inherent jurisdiction to validate the 1st Respondent’s caste certificate as belonging to a Backward Class. In fact, the Deputy Collector, Mumbai Suburban was the only authority that had such jurisdiction at the relevant time. The Court also viewed this petition to be an attempt of a disgruntled candidate losing an election to disqualify the successful candidate.

Thereby, the Court found no merit in the petition and dismissed the same.

[Shilpa Santosh Salvi v. Pankaj Shobhnath Yadav, 2024 SCC OnLine Bom 972, decided on 02-04-2024]

Judgment by Justice Kamal Khata

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Advocate for the Petitioner: Anil Anturkar, Senior Advocate with Shubham Misar.

Advocate for the Respondents: Pramod Patil, with Ajit Hon, Kunjan Jogdond & Shyam S. Solanake, i/b PNP & Associates and Vishal Thadani, Addl GP

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