Decided on November 29,2017



Bharati H. Dangre, J. - (1.) The petitioner, an employee of the Maharashtra State Electricity Supply Company Limited claiming to be belonging to "Vadar" Vimukta Jatis (A) has approached to this Court challenging the order passed by the Divisional Caste Scrutiny Committee No.2, Ratnagiri. The Committee has invalidated the claim of the petitioner as belonging to caste "Vadar" and cancelled the Caste Certificate issued by Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Chiplun, Ratnagiri on 03.03.1999.
(2.) The grievance of the petitioner in the present petition is that the Committee has not considered the documents produced by the petitioner and has invalidated the certificate of caste "Vadar" granted in his favour only on the ground that he has not produced any proof prior to 1961. The claim of the petitioner was forwarded to the Divisional Caste Committee for verification and in support of the claim the petitioner had produced documentary evidence in form of documents reflecting the caste as "Vadar" issued in his favour, in favour of his father and parental cousin. He also submitted a genealogical tree in form of affidavit and certificate issued by Chairman Chiplun Nagar Parishad certifying that he belongs to caste "Vadar" and he is resident of State of Maharashtra. For the purpose of verification of the claim of the petitioner, the Committee conducted an inquiry through vigilance cell and the report of the vigilance cell was forwarded to the Committee on 4th January, 2012. However, according to the Committee, the vigilance cell did not reveal any information on the caste of the petitioner or his place of residence and therefore, the said report was not considered by the Committee. The petitioner was supplied the copy of the vigilance cell and he was asked to offer his comments on the same. However, according to the Committee, the petitioner did not submit any response thereto. The Committee thereafter conducted the proceedings on various dates and the petitioner was called for hearing. The Committee passed the impugned order on 8th November, 2012 by observing that the petitioner has not adduced any evidence or tendered any document to demonstrate that his ancestors were residing in State of Maharashtra prior to 21st November, 1961 nor has produced any document in relation to his caste and on this limited ground the Respondent No.1 Divisional Caste Verification Committee No.2 invalidated the claim of the petitioner as belonging to caste "Vadar" (Vimukta Jatis).
(3.) We have heard learned counsel Mrs. Indrayani M. Koparkar for petitioner and Shri Sawant learned Assistant Government Pleader on behalf of the State Government. On the earlier date of hearing, we had asked Mr. Sawant learned AGP to produce the record of the proceedings before the Respondent No.1 and accordingly Shri Sawant has produced the record. The counsel for the petitioner submitted before us that Respondent No.1 Committee did not apply its mind to the claim of the petitioner in proper perspective and rejected the claim on solitary ground that the petitioner has failed to produce any evidence to demonstrate that the petitioner and his fore-fathers were resident of State of Maharashtra prior to 1st May, 1961. According to the learned counsel, the documents produced by the petitioner clearly reflects the caste as Vadar [Vimukta Jatis (A)] and he claims that he is resident of Village Allore, Tal. Chiplun, District Ratnagiri and she relied upon the tax receipt from Chiplun Nagar Parishad, Chiplun to demonstrate that the petitioner is resident of said place. She also placed reliance on Ration Card issued in favour of the petitioner by the Tehsildar Chiplun. The counsel for the petitioner would submit that the petitioner was not afforded an opportunity to respond to the vigilance inquiry report and the Committee proceeded with the verification process without taking into consideration the response of the petitioner. The petitioner submits that the vigilance report supported the caste of the petitioner. It reflects that, on inquiry it is found that the father of the petitioner is resident of Chiplun since 55 years and there are approximately 150 houses of persons belonging to "Vadar" caste and the said inquiry report further mentions that the inquiry reveals that caste of the petitioner is "Vadar". However, the Committee rejected the vigilance report and in turn did not entertain the claim of the petitioner. The counsel for petitioner relies on a validity certificate issued in favour of cousin Hanumant Rajaram Nalawade issued by the Caste Scrutiny Committee, Ratnagiri on 20th January, 2009 validating the claim belonging to "Vadar". According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, Hanumant Rajaram Nalawade is cousin brother of the petitioner and she would argue that since the blood relative of the petitioner is granted the validity certificate, by applying the principle laid down by the Hon'ble High Court of Bombay, Bench at Nagpur, in Apoorva d/o. Vinay Nichale v. Divisional Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee No.1, Nagpur and others, 2010 6 AIRBomR 21, the petitioner is entitled for validity certificate of caste "Vadar".;

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