A.M. Dhavale, J.
1. Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith. Heard finally with the consent of the parties and taken up for final disposal at the stage of admission.
2. The petitioner assails the order of respondent No. 2 the Scheduled Tribe Caste Certificate Verification Committee Aurangabad,, whereby the petitioner's claim for Scheduled Tribe (Mannerwarlu) was invalidated by Judgment dt. 30.11.2012.
3. The petitioner was a minor girl, who had obtained admission to M.B.B.S. course in respondent No.3 College at Amravati governed by respondent No. 4 Health University, Nashik, on the basis of her tribe claim as Mannervarlu in 2012. Her claim for Scheduled Tribe was duly forwarded for verification to respondent No. 2Committee. Meanwhile, she was protected, however, later on, her claim came to be invalidated.
4. Shri. S. M. Vibhute, learned counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the petitioner's claim was supported by following facts.
(i) There is validity certificate in favour of the petitioner's father's cousin Balaji dt. 24.06.2011 and in favour of Madhav Ramji petitioner's father's paternal cousin dt. 23.03.2006.
(ii) The caste of the petitioner, her brother and her father has been recorded as Mannerwarlu in school record and caste certificates were issued in favour of her brother and father.
(iii) Her father's caste is recorded as Mannerwarlu in his service book.
(iv) Her father's cousin Sangam Tukaram Kaletwad has obtained caste validity certificate on 06.01.2011. It was on the basis of his father's record of 1954.
(v) The report of Vigilance Cell supported the claim of the petitioner.
5. Shri. Vibhute submitted that, the learned members of Scrutiny Committee ignored the validity certificates issued in favour of close paternal relatives of the petitioner on wrong notion stating that each claim has to be considered on its own. It is settled law that, when validity certificates are issued in favour of close relatives of the petitioner from paternal side, those cannot be ignored unless there are strong grounds to take divergent view for the simple reason that the caste or tribe of a person is inherited by him from his/her parents.
6. Shri. Vibhute further submitted that, the Committee gave undue importance to the alteration in the school record of the petitioner's father. The said alteration was signed by the then Headmaster immediately and the petitioner had no role to play in the same. There is consistent record of several relatives showing that the petitioner is a member of Scheduled Tribe (Mannervarlu). Hence, the petition should be allowed and the order of Scrutiny Committee be set aside.
7. Shri. Vibhute placed reliance on Sayanna Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. reported in 2010(1) ALL MR 957. In this case, addition of 'Lu' after Mannervar was not treated as interpolation at the instance of the appellant therein as the Scrutiny Committee had not taken opinion of Handwriting Expert nor compared the disputed letters with admitted one. The said alteration was not proved to be at the instance of the appellant. Mr Vibhute also argued that, in view of the urbanization and development of the persons of Scheduled Tribe, the members of Scheduled Tribe are forgetting their traits, anthropological linkages, old customs and traditions. The affinity test cannot be a litmus test.
8. Per contra, Shri. P. S. Patil, learned Assistant Government Pleader for the State, submitted that the Committee has rightly given importance to the interpolation in the school record of the petitioner's father. He placed reliance on the judgment of this Court in the case of Nilesh Sapkale vs Schedule Tribe Scrutiny Committee, Nandurbar (WP No. 8354 of 2013) decided on 10.07.2017 and Vinayak s/o Narhari Kolshikwar Vs. State of Maharashtra and others reported in 2008(2) Mh.L.J. 179. It is held in these cases that, when original school record is altered without following the procedure as laid down in the Code, no evidentiary value can be attached to such entries which are taken in violation of the procedure prescribed in that behalf. He submitted that, the claim of the petitioner is based on validity certificates of her paternal relatives who had obtained their validity certificates on the basis of validity of Madhav Ramji, who is not related to them. Madhav Ramji had also obtained validity on the basis of certificate of a person who is not related to him. The petitioner's claim is based on the validity certificates of the persons who were not proved to be her paternal relatives and they have been granted validity certificates on the basis of certificates of others. The relationship between the petitioner and the said persons is not proved.
9. Shri. Vibhute, learned counsel for the petitioner also placed reliance on the judgment of the Division bench of this Court in the case of Varsha Nandkishor Deore versus The State of Maharashtra & Anr. in Writ Petition No. 639 of 2018 decided on 31.01.2018. In this case, relying on the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Anand vs The Committee reported in 2012(1) SCC 113, it was observed that, in case the applicant is the first generation ever to attend school, the availability of any documentary evidence becomes difficult, but that ipso facto does not call for the rejection of his claim. In fact, while applying the affinity test, which focuses on the ethnological connections with the Scheduled Tribe, a cautious approach has to be adopted. In Varsha Deore's case (supra), there was a pre-constitution document and it was held that on the basis of affinity test, the document having higher probative value could not be ignored.
10. The only point that arises for our consideration is, whether rejection of tribe claim of the petitioner by the Scrutiny Committee is without following due process of law or without application of mind?
11. With the help of learned advocates, we have gone through the record of this case as well as the record produced by Assistant Government Pleader in respect of the validity granted to Balaji Maroti Kaletwad, Sangam Tukaram Kaletwad, Madhav Ramji Kaletwad and Ganpat Masnaji Kaletwad.
12. The petitioner's fatherDattatraya has filed genealogy as follows :
13. Thus, petitioner's father claim to be first degree cousin of Sangam Tukaram, who is valid tribe certificate holder. The petitioner has shown name of Sangam Tukaram as well as name of Balaji Maroti as relatives (father's cousins).
14. Though the Scrutiny Committee has given importance to the alterations of the caste of the petitioner's father in the school record, we do not find it much significant. His caste was shown as Mannervar, it has been cancelled by circling and rewritten as Mannervarlu. The entry bears attestation by then HeadmasterH. M. Jadhav. The same appears to be identical with signatures of HeadmasterJadhav in column no. 13. Caste Mannervarlu is recorded in the school record of petitioner's uncle Bhimrao, Kerabai and uncle-Rajendra. The school record of petitioner's aunt Chandrakala is torn and only word Manner is visible. We find that, these entries are of recent origin. These entries will not be sufficient to prove the caste.
15. The petitioner heavily relies on the validity certificates issued in favour of her near relatives, which are as follows :
1. Sangam Kaletwad (father's cousin) dt. 06.01.2011.
2. Madhav Kaletwad (father's cousin) dt. 13.03.2006.
3. Deorao Tiparse (husband of father's sister) dt.08.05.2008 (not a paternal relative, hence insignificant).
16. The material issue is about validity certificates issued in favour of the near paternal relatives of the petitioner. The petitioner has relied on tribe validity certificates issued in favour of Sangam Tukram Kaletwad dt. 06.01.2011, Madhav Ramji dt. 13.03.2006, Deorao Ramchandra Tiparse dt. 08.05.2008. The Committee relied on the judgment in Dharmendra Devram Patil Vs. Scheduled Tribes Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee & Ors. reported in 2004(1) ALL MR 512. The above said view of this Court ceased to be a good law in view of the decision of the Apex Court in the case of Kumari Madhuri Patil and another Versus Addl. Commissioner, Tribal Development and others reported in (AIR 1995 SC 94), where it has emphasized that each claimant has to stand on his/her own legs and merely because one of the family member's caste claim has been verified, would not by itself be the foundation for validation of candidate's claim. The Committees legal notion in this regard is not found. The persons inherit their caste from their parents and, therefore, persons belonging to same paternal family have the same caste. The validity issued in favour of near paternal relatives is very much relevant to determine the validity of caste or tribe of the petitioner. However, as held by us in recent judgment in a case of Monika Thakur vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors (WP No. 10123 of 2010) decided on 04.05.2018, the validity certificates granted in favour of close relatives of the petitioner though significant shall not be considered in following cases.
(i) When vital evidence has been ignored.
(ii) When fraud is practiced.
(iii) When the procedure provided has not been followed.
17. The issue therefore before us is, whether the petition can be allowed relying on the validity certificates in the name of petitioner's relatives and the committee can be directed to issue the certificate to the petitioner?
18. On close scrutiny, we find that the validity certificates produced by the petitioner cannot be relied upon as the certificates are based on validity certificate issued in favour of Ganpat Masnaji. Prima facie, he has filed false affidavit to support the claim of Madhav Ramji showing himself as his relative when actually he is not. Ganpat Masnaji Kaletwad was issued tribe validity certificate bearing No. 25788, dt. 25.07.2004 on the basis of validity certificate of his uncle Maroti Lachmanna Degloorkar. Though there is difference in the name of Degloorkar and Kaletwad, there is affidavit showing that this is the name of same person, which is not much significant. Ganpat had relied on two other validity certificates issued in the name of Gangadhar Laxman Ramod and Suryakant Laxman Ramod. Their validity certificates have no evidentiary value as they are cousin brothers of his wife and not his paternal relatives. We do not enter into the issue whether validity certificates were properly issued to Ganpat Lachmanna and his uncle Maroti, but, the record of Ganpat's file shows genealogy of Ganpat Masnaji as follows :
Genealogy given on oath by Maroti Lachmanna, the original tribe certificate holder, is as follows :
19. The genealogy tree shows that, Ganpat was real nephew of validity certificate holder Maroti Lachmanna. There is statement of Masnaji Lachmanna disclosing the relationship as per genealogical tree. It shows that, they are resident of Ambulga, later shifted to Degloor 70 years back. The statement shows that, Ganpat was working as Jr. Clerk while Maroti Lachmanna was an Engineer and serving in MSEB since 1970.
20. Same Ganpat on the basis of same certificate bearing No. 25788 filed his affidavit in the claim proceedings of Madhav Ramji Kaletwad showing different genealogy and different facts. The genealogy is as follows :
21. Thus, Ganpat has shown his father's name as Masnaji and grand father's name as Lachmanna the same as shown in his own proceedings by his uncle Maroti but there are following material differences.
(i) The great grandfather of Ganpat was shown as Masnaji in Ganpat's proceedings while his name is shown as Budhaji in Madhav Ramji's proceedings.
(ii) In Ganpat's proceedings, Lachmanna is shown to have only two brothers by name Baganna and Poshetti.
(iii) In Madhav's case, Lachmanna is having five brothers having totally different names. None of them is Baganna or Poshetti. It seems that, Budhaji had no son by name Lachmanna and the entire branch of Lachmanna is taken out from Lachmanna Masnaji and added to the genealogy of Madhav Ramji's common ancestor Budhaji or Budhaji may have son by name Lachmanna who may have son by name Masnaji, but they had no connection whatsoever with Ganpat to whom validity certificate was granted.
22. It is relevant here to disclose that, the affidavit of Madhav Ramji shows that all his relatives were illiterate whereas; record in Ganpat's case shows that Ganpat himself and his uncle were literate and well educated. It is also pertinent to note that, certificate to Ganpat Masnaji, grand son of Lachmanna Masnaji was issued on 27.12.2004 but the same was not relied upon by Madhav Ramji. Madhav had shown his cousin's name as Ganesh Masnaji whereas' the validity certificateholder is Ganpat Masnaji. Pertinently, the family of Budhaji is resident of Ambulga whereas; Ganpat Masnaji and Maroti Masnaji are from Degloor. They are not illiterate but educated. We thus find that, Madhav Ramji has obtained validity certificate No. 27920 dt. 13.03.2006 by playing fraud.
23. The Scrutiny Committee was not diligent in verifying the relationship of Madhav Ramji with Ganpat Masnaji and blindly relied on the genealogy shown and the false affidavit filed by Ganpat Masnaji. Sangam Tukaram Kaletwad has relied on the validity certificate of Madhav Ramji Kaletwad. The Scrutiny Committee issued certificate to Sangam on the basis of certificate of Madhav Ramji Kaletwad. It also placed reliance on the certificate issued in favour of Dattakumar Sambhaji. One Balaji s/o Maroti s/o. Chandar s/o. Linga s/o. Budhaji has also obtained validity certificate on the basis of validity certificate and affidavit of Madhav Ramji. Pallavi d/o. Dattatraya Baliram has relied on these certificates. The Committee ignored these certificates and obviously did not consider whether those were issued after due scrutiny or not or whether any fraud was played in obtaining those certificates when the original certificate of Madhav Ramji on the basis of which other validity certificates are issued is prima facie found to be obtained by fraud. It may be necessary to reopen all he proceedings of validity certificates issued in favour of descendants of Budhaji if those are based on the certificates issued in favour of Ganpat Masnaji or Madhav Ramji.
24. Though not very significant, the place of residence of the family of Ganpat and Maroti is Degloor whereas; the descendants of Budhaji are residents of Ambulga and they were all shown as illiterate.
25. It also appears that, Amol Vyankat and Gangaram Balaji from the branch of Budhaji Kaletwad have also obtained certificates dt. 15.04.2005 and 12.12.2005, respectively. We direct the concerned Scrutiny Committees to give opportunity of hearing to all the certificate holders from the branch of Budhaji for taking a decision of reopening of their claims proceeding and decide the same on their own merits. If it is found that, the validity certificate holder have obtained the certificates by playing fraud, the necessary consequences shall follow.
26. Before parting with the final order, we find that there is huge growth in persons belonging to scheduled tribe or caste showing that persons from general caste or OBC are trying to secure false certificates of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for better opportunities in the employment. The Scrutiny Committee should be very diligent and follow proper procedure. We notice that, the claimants are bound to disclose in their applications entire genealogical tree known to them but as found in the present cases, it is commonly found that only partial genealogy trees are shown or no genealogy tree is filed by the claimant at the time of application. The genealogy of some branches is left open for subsequent manipulation. In the cases referred, no genealogy of Chander was shown in some proceedings and subsequently the genealogy was conveniently developed. We hold that, the Scrutiny Committee should insist for a complete genealogical tree with a declaration that no further relatives of the same genealogy are known to the petitioner. Once such complete genealogical tree is filed, it is subject to verification by the Vigilance Officer and it shall not be permissible for the claimant to subsequently come with a new plea that certain persons not shown in the genealogical tree are their paternal relatives and they have obtained validity certificates. The claimants can claim the benefits of validity certificates issued in the name of only those persons as their paternal relatives in the genealogical tree which has been subjected to verification by Vigilance Committee and is found to be correct by the Vigilance Officer.
27. It is also necessary here to record that the Vigilance Officer must strictly verify the genealogical tree. The genealogical tree can be and many a times is manipulated and it is not safe to only rely upon the affidavit of the claimant and validity certificate holder so as to accept the relationship as shown in the genealogical tree. The Vigilance Office should consider the following documents to find out whether any false genealogy is shown.
(i) School record and transfer certificate issued in case of members of the genealogical tree.
(ii) Birth date register maintained by Municipal Council and Gram Panchayat and the person giving the information for such entries.
(iii) The old 7/12 extract and mutation extract showing lands held by the ancestral family.
(iv) The copies of the ration card.
(v) Record of census disclosing the name of caste, if any.
(vi) Judgments, plai
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nts, written statement, FIR and other documents in old litigations like partition suits. (vii) Copies of death certificate disclosing the name of reporting person. (viii) Registration of marriages and copies of marriage invitation card, if available. (ix) Allotment of agriculture land to the members of ST, if any. (x) The caste shown in the Kotwal Book. (xi) The sale transactions if those disclose the caste/tribe of the relatives shown in genealogical tree. (xii) Service record of relatives. 28. It is necessary to evolve a system of computerized data of all relevant documents to ensure proper scrutiny of caste and tribe claims. It was also necessary to fix time limit for making claims by the persons that they belong to particular tribe or caste. 29. With the observations as above, we set aside the order of Scrutiny Committee (R2) dt. 30.11.2012 and direct the Committee to again consider the tribe claim of the petitioner after verifying the validity of her paternal relatives and giving due importance to such validity if found to be correct. 30. Respondent No. 2 is directed to issue notices to the paternal relatives of the petitioner-descendants of Budhaji referred to herein above as to why the validation proceedings in their cases shall not be reopened and after giving them due opportunity to explain anomalies herein above shall take decision whether their cases should be reopened or not. He shall take decision in respect of the petitioner herein on the basis of the decision regarding the validity of certificates issued to the paternal relatives of the petitioner. 31. The matter is remanded back to the Committee. 32. The Writ Petition is accordingly disposed of with no order as to costs. 33. In view of disposal of writ petition, nothing survives for consideration in the connected Civil Applications No. 6041 of 2013 and 10027 of 2016, and same stand disposed of.