Supreme Court restores Scheduled Caste status to BJP leader Navneet Kaur | India News

NEW DELHI: In a relief to BJP leader and MP from Amravati reserved constituency Navneet Kaur Ravi Rana just ahead of general elections, Supreme Court on Thursday quashed Bombay high court order by which her Scheduled Caste certificate of ‘Mochi’ was cancelled.
A bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and Sanjay Karol held that 2017 order of District Caste Scrutiny Committee which validated Kaur’s caste claim as ‘Mochi’ was right and the HC inadvertently undertook an erroneous exercise of appreciating evidence and swayed itself into a roving inquiry which was not expected as per settled legal position.
“When the scrutiny committee which is principally tasked with the fact finding exercise for validation of caste claim, had applied its mind and reached a conclusion, then in such a situation, whether a roving enquiry by HC was required? It is well settled that high courts as well as Supreme Court should refrain themselves from deeper probe into factual issues like an appellate body unless the inferences made by the concerned authority suffers from perversity on the face of it or are impermissible in the eyes of law. In the instant case, the order passed by the committee reflects due appreciation of evidence and application of mind and in absence of any allegation of bias/malice or lack of jurisdiction, disturbing the findings of the committee cannot be sustained,” the bench said.
Kaur was elected from reserved seat on the basis of the certificate which attested to her being a ‘Mochi’ which is Scheduled Caste in the state making her eligible to contest from a reserved seat. The court had in 2021 stayed the HC order, paving the way for her to continue to represent the constituency in Parliament. The HC quashed the order of the scrutiny committee primarily on the ground that the same was obtained fraudulently.
Finding fault with the HC order, SC said, “the Scrutiny Committee duly considered the documents placed before it and after due application of mind on being satisfied, accorded reasons for accepting/validating the caste claim of the appellant herein while accepting/rejecting other certain documents. The Scrutiny Committee heard all the parties in detail complying with the principles of natural justice. Hence, in our considered opinion, the order of the Scrutiny Committee did not merit any interference by the High Court,” the court said.
“We again observe that under Rule 13(2)(a) of 2012 Rules, the adjudication on the basis of the documents falls solely within the domain of the Scrutiny Committee based on the inputs received from the Vigilance Cell. The Scrutiny Committee is an expert forum armed with fact finding authority. The High Court ought not to have interfered, especially when Scrutiny Committee had followed the due procedure under Rule 12, 17 and 18 of the 2012 Rules and that there was nothing perverse about a finding of fact,” it said

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