January 30, 2023
Bombay HC cancels 'fraudulently obtained' caste certificate of MP Navneet Rana | India News - Times of India

MUMBAI: Bombay HC on Tuesday “cancelled and confiscated” a caste certificate which it held was “fraudulently obtained” by Navneet Rana, unbiased MP from Amravati and imposed a value of Rs 2 lakh on her. The quantity needs to be paid to Maharashtra Legal Services Authority inside two weeks.
The 36-12 months-outdated Rana was elected within the May 2019 Lok Sabha Elections from a reserved seat.
The HC put aside her caste certificate and a 2017 order validating the certificate of her belonging to the ‘Mochi’ Scheduled Caste and directed her to give up her caste certificate inside six weeks.
The HC bench of Justices R D Dhanuka and V G Bisht handed the judgment in a batch of three petitions, two by her opponents in 2018 and 2019, and one filed by her in 2020. It dismissed her petition observing that she had “committed a fraud on the Constitution.”
Rana is likely to appeal before the Supreme Court.
“In our view the caste claim made by (her) for obtaining a caste certificate as Schedule Caste itself was fraudulent and was made with intention to obtain various benefits available to a candidate from such Schedule Caste category knowing well that she does not belong to that caste,… made intentionally to make a fraudulent claim to enable (her) to contest an election for member of Parliament on the seat reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate,” said the HC.
“Fraudulent acts are not encouraged by the Courts. The constitution does not postulate conferment of any special benefit on those who do not belong to the category of SC/ST people for whom the provision was made,” the HC in its 108 page judgment said.
The scrutiny committee’s order in accepting her claim on the basis of two “fabricated” paperwork— a hire settlement of 1932 of her nice-grandfather and a 2014 school certificate, is “totally perverse’’ the HC held. “In our view, there were two sets of documents produced” which were “contradictory’’ to each other, said the HC.
She had claimed to be ‘Sikh Chamar’ as well as “Ravidasiya Mochi” said the HC adding, “In our view, the term ‘Chamar’ and ‘Mochi’ are not synonymous and are different identity.’’
“Her original birth certificate did not mention the caste Mochi,” said the HC and the committee had accepted a 2014 certificate recording her caste as ‘Sikh Chamar’ issued by a college as admissible evidence.
Rana “failed to discharge her burden by producing authentic and clear evidence” under the Caste Certificate Act, held the HC.
It added that though she claims to have a big family, she “failed to produce any caste validity certificate in favour of any member of her family or relative certifying caste as Mochi since 1950 in support of her caste claim.’’
“Abdicating its responsibility and duty, the Scrutiny Committee chose to remain discreet,’’ and it was “aghast at the eerie silence’’ of the committee at certain questions and held that such committees have to be independent, the court said.
The bench also said the scrutiny committee’s order was “abysmal’’, lacking in a “judicious approach’’ and seem to be “swayed by extenuating circumstances.’’
The committee has the “trappings of judicial function and therefore requires a high degree of sensible approach with all circumspection,’’ the HC said, cautioning such committee to be careful in its “solemn duty.’’
The two petitions filed by her political opponents A V Adsul, 71, and Raju Mankar, 49, challenged the November 2017 order of a Mumbai suburban district caste certificate scrutiny committee validating Rana’s caste claim as a ‘Mochi’— Scheduled Caste. Through their counsel C M Korde and Pramod Patil they also sought orders to quash her caste certificate issued by a Mumbai deputy collector on August 30, 2013.
Rana through her counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar sought a declaration that her documents dating back to 1894-1895, 1920 and her school leaving certificate from Kartika high school in Kurla establishes her as being a Scheduled Caste member as a ‘Mochi’. Her petition also challenged a part of the 2017 finding of the District caste scrutiny committee in Mumbai which negated these ‘oldest’ documents.
The HC judgment said though the caste Chamar is included, admittedly ‘Sikh Chamar is not included in entry 11’’ of the Schedule II of the Constitution of India (Scheduled Caste).
The HC said, “Under Section 7 of the Caste Certificate Act, it is mandatory duty of the Caste Scrutiny Committee to cancel and confiscate caste certificate suo-moto or otherwise by calling for the record and after enquiry to the correctness of such certificate, if it is of the opinion that the certificate was obtained fraudulently by a person not belonging to any of the Schedule Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes or Special Backward Category.’’
The committee has to hear the person who holds the certificate.
In this case, the HC said the committee failed in its duty to cancel her caste certificate though complaints against Rana had “demonstrated” that she had been issued a caste certificate fraudulently.
The scrutiny committee by accepting the 2 paperwork “caused injustice to the petitioners” said the HC judgment, adding “The consequence of such enquiry and validating a caste certificate impacts public at giant in each sector, could also be on the stage of looking for admission in any college or school and even on the stage of making use of for employment and even whereas contesting an election in perpetuity. A flawed caste validity certificate granted in favour of the social gathering who doesn’t belong to that caste might deprive a real and deserving particular person belonging to such reserve class of the caste and of the advantages and all the advantages prescribed within the Constitution of India.”
The HC additionally noticed that “all the implications in legislation supplied upon cancellation of such fraudulently obtained caste certificate and caste validity certificate shall observe.’’ There is an election petition towards her 2019 victory pending earlier than the Nagpur bench of the HC.

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