In what could cost her parliamentary seat from Amravati, a Bombay High Court bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Virendra Bisht on Tuesday ‘cancelled and confiscated’ the ‘fraudulently validated caste certificate’ of Independent MP Navneet Kaur-Rana. Further, the bench imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the first-time MP, to be paid within two weeks to the state legislative services authority.
The bench was seized with a plea filed by Shiv Sena leader Anandrao Adsul and an activist, Raju Mankar, who highlighted the lapses on part of the district caste scrutiny committee, Mumbai, for “working sloppily and shirking its responsibility”.
Adsul, who lost to Kaur-Rana in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls argued that the MP had fraudulently obtained certain documents to substantiate her claim that she belonged to the ‘Mochi’ caste. He further claimed that the city’s caste scrutiny committee had not considered the report of the vigilance committee concluding that there were discrepancies in the documents submitted by Kaur-Rana.
Having gone through the material on record, the bench noted that indeed the scrutiny committee had not considered the negative report of the vigilance committee against Kaur-Rana and had wrongly validated her caste certificate, obtained in 2017.
“Such a wrong caste certificate may deprive genuine and deserving persons of their due benefits. Thus, in our view, the claim was made with the intention to obtain various benefits available to a candidate from such Scheduled Caste category, knowing well that she does not belong to that caste,” the judges held.
“Thus, she made the application intentionally, to make a fraudulent claim to contest an election for member of Parliament on the seat reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate,” the bench added.
The judges in their 108-page order, said, “Since she obtained the caste certificate fraudulently and got the said caste certificate validated fraudulently from the district caste scrutiny committee by producing fabricated and fraudulent documents, such a caste certificate is cancelled and stands confiscated.”
“It is needless to observe that all the consequences in law provided upon cancellation of such a fraudulently obtained certificate shall follow,” the bench ruled.
Slamming the scrutiny committee, the judges said, “it did its job rather sloppily and shirked the obligations imposed on it”. They said that they did not approve of such conduct and approach of the scrutiny committee.