SC adjourns to Aug 29 hearing on MP Navneet Rana’s plea against HC verdict cancelling caste certificate

The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned to August 29 the hearing on Lok Sabha MP Navneet Kaur Rana’s appeal challenging the Bombay High Court verdict cancelling her caste certificate.

The Independent lawmaker represents Maharashtra’s Amravati constituency that is reserved for scheduled castes.

A bench of justices J K Maheshwari and K V Viswanathan deferred the matter noting that hearing in the case will take time.

The top court had earlier stayed the high court verdict cancelling Rana’s caste certificate.

On June 8, 2021, the high court had said the caste certificate was obtained fraudulently using fabricated documents and had also imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on her.

Rana, backed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), won from Amravati in 2019 by claiming to be a member of the ‘Mochi’ caste.

A division bench of the high court, in its judgment, had asked Rana to surrender the certificate within six weeks and had asked her to pay the penalty of Rs 2 lakh to the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority within two weeks.

The high court had held that Rana’s claim of belonging to the ‘Mochi’ caste for obtaining the scheduled castes certificate itself was fraudulent and made with the intention of obtaining various benefits available to a candidate from such category, despite knowing she does not belong to that caste.

“The application (for caste certificate) was made intentionally to make a fraudulent claim to enable the respondent no.3 (Rana) to contest the election for the post of Member of Parliament on a seat reserved for a scheduled castes candidate,” the high court had said in its judgment.

The high court had passed its order on a plea seeking cancellation of the caste certificate dated August 30, 2013, issued by the Mumbai deputy collector, identifying Rana as belonging to the ‘Mochi’ caste.

Shiv Sena leader Anandrao Adsul had filed a complaint with the Mumbai District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee, which ruled in Rana’s favour and validated the certificate. He then approached the high court.

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He had contended that Rana obtained the certificate using forged and fabricated documents.

It was obtained by using the influence of Navneet Rana’s husband Ravi Rana, who was a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, he alleged.

The high court had held that the order passed by the Scrutiny Committee was totally perverse, without the application of mind, and contrary to the evidence on record.

The bench had noted that the original birth certificate of Navneet Rana did not mention the caste Mochi’.

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