SC reserves verdict on Amravati MP’s plea against cancellation of her caste certificate

New Delhi, Feb 29 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its Judgement on a plea of Amravati MP Navneet Kaur Rana challenging the Bombay High Court order that cancelled her caste certificate saying it had been obtained by fraudulent means.

A Bench comprising Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice Sanjay Karol was hearing Rana’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court order which observed that the certificate of ‘Mochi’ caste was obtained fraudulently.

The Bombay High Court had in June 2021 cancelled Rana’s caste certificate holding that it was a fraudulent certificate, even though records indicated that she belonged to the caste ‘Sikh-Chamar’.

This led to the invalidation of her election from a seat reserved for Scheduled Castes in Maharashtra.

The High Court further imposed a fine of Rs. 2 lakhs on Rana and directed her to surrender the certificate.

During the arguments in the Supreme Court, Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for the complainant, submitted that a Mochi caste certificate by the Maharashtra authority could not be issued to Rana based on a Sikh Chamar document as that would be contrary to the Constitution of India.

Farasat further contended that “Based on a Punjab document can a certificate in Maharashtra be issued..there is no way I can say that I am ‘X’ caste in Punjab so you give me a certificate under the Maharashtra Presidential order..a Mochi in Maharashtra is different than a Mochi in Punjab, they are different inquiries..”,

A committee found issues with three documents used by Rana to prove her ‘Mochi’ caste claim. These documents were her school leaving certificate (SLC), her father’s school leaving certificate, and her father’s caste certificate.

The committee discovered that Rana’s school leaving certificate was fake. The school confirmed that they issued it, but Rana had requested the word ‘Mochi’ to be added later.

The committee rejected Rana’s father’s school leaving certificate because they couldn’t verify it. The school didn’t have the mentioned name, and the Education Officer said it wasn’t issued by the school. Rana’s father’s original caste certificate for ‘Mochi’ was cancelled in 2017.

The committee questioned why Rana got a caste certificate when her father’s was denied, suggesting collusion.

Rana’s original school admission form indicated her belonging to the OBC category, not Scheduled Castes. The form, signed by her mother, mentioned only “Sikh” under caste.

Rana was accused of contradicting her application by submitting documents from 1932 while claiming her family migrated in 1946. She was also accused of presenting interpolated documents, and the High Court considered it a case of fraud.

The committee was criticized for equating ‘Sikh-Chamar’ with ‘Mochi,’ and it was questioned why Rana wasn’t prosecuted for submitting false documents.

It was argued that documents from Punjab couldn’t be used to get a caste certificate in Maharashtra without proper validation.

Rana’s lawyer however countered the allegations and argued that the documents provided were valid and claimed the caste based on pedigree documents dating back to 1898.

The issue involves a controversy over the authenticity of documents used by Rana to claim a ‘Mochi’ caste certificate, with accusations of fraud and collusion with the committee.

The petition was filed by former Shiv Sena MP Anandra Vithoba Adsul before the Bombay High Court.

The Supreme Court after hearing the lengthy arguments from both sides reserved its order today on the issue of whether Sikh Chamar’ & ‘Ravidaasiya Mochi’ are the same.

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