Over 500 tribals filed a petition and submitted it to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari seeking disqualification of an MLA of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde faction - Latabai Chandrakant Sonawane elected from Chopda constituency of Jalgaon district. The assembly has a reserved category seat for the Scheduled Tribe. The petition claims that Sonawane had filed a false Tribal Claim Certificate while contesting the 2019 General Assembly Elections.
President of the tribal organisation Birasa Fighters, Sushilkumar Pawar filed the petition against the Shiv Sena MLA urging the Governor to dismiss the election result for furnishing a false schedule caste certificate to contest on a reserved seat.
The claim of Latabai Chandrakant Sonawane of "Tokre Koli" Scheduled Tribe was invalidated in February 2022 by the Scheduled Tribe Certificate Scrutiny Committee, Nandurbar. The Bombay High Court bench at Aurangabad had dismissed Lata Sonawane's writ petition challenging the Scheduled Tribe Certificate Scrutiny Committee orders which were dismissed in June 2022. She further approached the apex court which upheld the High Court orders.
Latabai Chandrakant Sonawane is an MLA belonging to the Shinde group of the new government and subsequently, the Election Commission proceedings are pending for the claim for Shiv Sena's party symbol.
When contacted Lata Sonawane's husband Chandrakant Sonawane, he said “We will be filing a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the disqualification order.”
Lata Sonawane contested the 2019 election from Shiv Sena and defeated NCP candidate Jagdish Valvi. Valvi filed an application against Lata challenging her caste certificate with the Nandurbar Caste Verification Committee which after scrutiny cancelled the Tokare Koli caste certificate of Lata Sonawane.
The two-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court against MLA Lata Sonawane regarding the invalidation of Tokare Koli Scheduled Tribe certificate.
According to advocate, Bhushan Mahajan representing the tribals petition for disqualification of MLA Lata Sonawane, it is expected on the part of the Maharashtra Governor to take a decision under Article 192 to dismiss the elections of the Shiv Sena candidate. “The caste claim is invalidated by Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee and the same has been confirmed by the supreme court, he said.
Sushilkumar Pawar has urged the Governor to disqualify Sonawane at the earliest or the tribals will be forced to protest the march on Rajbhavan.