Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday held that over 35 lakh persons belonging to various reserved categories across Maharashtra will have to get their caste claims revalidated, as certificates issued to them were "null and void" in the absence of vigilance reports.
As a result, the validity of election of many candidates from reserved categories in the recent civic polls too may be in doubt.
The division bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar held that the Caste Scrutiny Committees, set up to scrutinize caste claims, are required to refer every claim to Vigilance Cells. "Without the vigilance report, the committee cannot validate any caste claim," the court observed.
The judgement puts a question mark on the validity of election of candidates from reserved seats of the civic bodies across Maharashtra. The court held 33 temporary Caste Scrutiny Committees set up to expeditiously decide caste claims of candidates of recently held civic polls as "unconstitutional".
These committees had issued more than 27,000 caste validity certificates each day.
The High Court took up the issue after it was flooded with petitions challenging the caste validity certificates before and after the civic polls.
The petitions challenged the constitutional validity of the specially constituted Caste Scrutiny Committees and the validity of the certificates issued by them.