Bharat Express

SC Reverses Bombay High Court’s Decision on Navneet Rana’s Caste Certificate

SC overturned a June 2021 Bombay HC ruling that had revoked Amravati MP Navneet Rana’s scheduled caste certificate.

The Supreme Court overturned a June 2021 Bombay High Court ruling that had revoked Amravati Member of Parliament (MP) Navneet Rana’s scheduled caste certificate.

The high court found that Rana had obtained and authenticated her certificate using fabricated and fraudulent documents submitted to a scrutiny committee. Alongside a fine of ₹2 lakh, she was directed to surrender the certificate.

Justices JK Maheshwari and Sanjay Karol of the Supreme Court bench stated that the scrutiny committee’s decision did not warrant the high court’s intervention. They remarked, “In the instant case, the scrutiny committee passed the order after due application of mind and after hearing all parties in detail.” Consequently, they allowed Rana’s appeal, setting aside the high court’s order.

The Supreme Court’s stay on the high court order in 2021 enabled Rana to continue serving as an independent MP. Rana, who had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the April-June national elections, is now vying for reelection from the reserved Amravati constituency in Maharashtra.

Former Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul had challenged Rana’s caste certificate in the high court, alleging “collusion” and “fabrication” of documents submitted to the committee.

In November 2017, the scrutiny committee rejected Rana’s claim of belonging to the Ravidasia Mochi caste but accepted her as Sikh Chamar, thereby granting her a Mochi caste certificate.

Adsul contended in the high court that the committee erred in accepting Rana’s claim to be Sikh Chamar, as it is not a recognized scheduled caste in the Presidential Order for Maharashtra.

Rana disputed the high court’s decision, arguing that it should not have conducted a fact-finding inquiry. She added that if there were any deficiencies in the committee’s findings, the matter should have been referred back to the panel.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Shadan Farasat, representing Adsul, asserted that Rana had claimed to belong to the Sikh Chamar caste while simultaneously producing documents asserting her identity as Ravidasia Mochi, relying on purported certificates from Punjab. They maintained that this was done after her initial documents, indicating her affiliation with the Mochi caste, were found to be forged and fabricated.

Earlier this year, Sibal urged the Supreme Court to expedite the matter, given that the term of the Lok Sabha would expire before May.

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