The Supreme Court has saved the career of a general category student, who got admission in an engineering college under reserved category and completed his studies, while the legal battle on his caste status was on in the Bombay High Court.
A Bench of Justice SB Sinha and Justice Dalveer Bhandari directed the Maharashtra government to issue BE degree to Sandep Subhash Parate - on payment of Rs 1 lakh as notional compensation towards the expenses incurred by the state on his education. It ordered that if he deposited the money within three months, the state would immediately issue him the degree. The Bench, however, cancelled his caste certificate and said, "in future, for all purposes Parate will be treated as a person belonging to the general category."
Parate was under a misplaced belief that his caste Koshti Halbas was at par with Halba, a Scheduled Tribe, which was entitled to reservation benefits in the state. Rejecting the allegation of fraud, the Bench said, "We, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, are not inclined to go into the question as regards purported commission of fraud by Parate, particularly, when the university admitted him without any demur whatsoever."
The court took note of the fact that he got admission to the professional course as far back as in 1998 and had not been able to get his degree for the last three years.