APARNA SHRIKANT BHAYE Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: BOMBAY)
(Kumari) Aparna Shrikant Bhaye
State of Maharashtra and Others
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Kania, J. -
(1.)This Special Leave is directed against the judgment of a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court dismissing summarily Writ Petition No. 3762 of 1989 filed by the petitioner.
(2.)The petitioner passed the High Secondary Certificate (hereinafter referred to as "the H.S.C.") examination held in March 1989, and sought admission to a medical college in Bombay conducted by the Government or one of the Municipal Medical Colleges in the city of Bombay on the footing that she belonged to the Scheduled Tribe of Mahadeo Koli. In support of her claim she tendered certain caste certificates. Her application was referred, in accordance with the relevant rules to the Scrutiny Committee, which is an expert body for determination of caste claims, for verifying her claim to belong to the aforesaid Scheduled Tribe. In support of her claim, the petitioner submitted several caste certificates obtained by her. At the hearing before the Scrutiny Committee the petitioner also furnished the Secondary School Leaving Certificate of her father. Her father was requested to furnish his Primary School Leaving Certificate or birth certificate in order to ascertain the correct caste of the petitioner but he failed to produce the same. The Committee, therefore, conducted the necessary inquiries at Municipal Primary School, Worli, Koliwada Bombay where the petitioner's father had taken his primary education. That school by its letter dated April 29, 1989, disclosed entries made in register of the said school showing inter alia, that the caste of the petitioner's father was recorded as "Son Koli". These entries were made in 1945 when there was no special advantage which the Scheduled Tribe of Mahadeo Koli enjoyed over the members of the caste of Son Koli. It was pointed out by the Committee that these entries are entitled to a very great probative value as they have been made at a time when no question of making any manipulation arose. The certificates relied upon by the petitioner have been rejected by the Scrutiny Committee primarily because these certificates were inconsistent with the entries in the said Register of the Primary School relating to the petitioner's father to which the Committee attached great probative value. The reasons given by the Scrutiny Committee for the rejection cannot be said to be irrelevant or perverse. There is no complaint that the rules of fairplay have not been observed by the Scrutiny Committee. It rejected the claim of the petitioner that she belonged to the Scheduled Tribe of Mahadeo Koli. This decision was upheld by the Additional Commissioner for Tribal Development, State of Maharashtra in an appeal preferred by the petitioner. Against the decision the petitioner filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the aforesaid decision and that writ petition was summarily dismissed by a Division Bench of that High Court.
(3.)We have heard learned counsel for the petitioner who has strongly urged that the High Court was in error in rejecting the writ petition summarily as it is done. We find, however, that it has not been shown how the decision of the Scrutiny Committee or the Appellate decision of the Commissioner for Tribal Welfare discloses any error calling for any interference in a writ petition. The entire controversy has to be appreciated in the light of the admitted fact that Mahadeo Koli is a Scheduled Tribe whereas Son Koli is a caste. We cannot find fault with the Scrutiny Committee for placing great reliance on the entries in the register of the primary school where the petitioner's father took his primary education, as at the time when these entries were made there was no reason why he should have made a wrong statement about the caste or tribe to which he belonged.
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