In a setback for the state government, the Bombay high court refused to stay certain portions of its order calling for a mandatory vigilance cell report for the issuance of a caste validity certificate accompanying nomination forms of candidates contesting civic elections.
The court said it was “disturbing” that the scrutiny committee issued a validity certificate without the submission of a vigilance cell report for 96% of the applicants.
Following different sets of petitions, the court on Tuesday directed that it is mandatory to follow procedure laid down by Apex Court, which requires the issuance of a caste certificate by the scrutiny committee only after obtaining a vigilance report on the caste claim.
A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice Nitin Jamdar noted that about 7,000 certificates have been issued by the committee in the last few months out of which 6,300 certificates have been issued without the vigilance cell report.
There are about 800 applications that are pending and only in 3.39% of cases certificates have been issued after a vigilance cell inquiry. The state government informed that there are about 1,254 seats out of 10 municipal corporations in the state where 510 seats are reserved.
Advocate general Ravi Kadam submitted that the apprehension by the state now is that there will be no election in some of these wards in reserved category as there is no time to follow the procedure. The state has indicated that it will move SC on Thursday.