Court strikes down Maharashtra caste panels

May 4th, 2012 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, May 4 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Friday struck down the Maharashtra government-appointed caste scrutiny committees which issued around 27,000 caste verification certificates in the past few months.

Accordingly, all certificates issued by these panels have been automatically rendered void.

The ruling by the division bench of Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar and Justice Nitin Jamdar put a question mark on the future of hundreds of elected representatives who used provisional certificates issued by these panels for filing nominations for local body and civic elections.

The order came on a bunch of 100-odd petitions filed by candidates who lost the elections and alleged that bogus certificates were issued by the committees.

The court struck down a state government decision of July 30, 2011 that ordered the setting up of the caste scrutiny committees in districts.

The judges ordered the government to confiscate all caste certificates issued by these committees so far within the next three months.

The court stayed the operation of the order for 10 weeks to enable the state government file an appeal in the Supreme Court.

In the past few months, elections were held for several zila parishads, panchayat samitis, municipal councils and municipal corporations. Provisional caste verification certificates were issued to thousand of candidates by the district collectors.

In earlier elections, the candidates who won the elections were given a few months’ time to submit their caste verification certificates.

In the recent polls, as per the amended rules, the candidates were required to compulsorily submit provisional caste verification certificates along with their nomination papers.

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