Supreme Court Of India

Allowing the appeals and remitting the matter to High Court for fresh consideration on merits, the Court HELD: 1. The Caste Scrutiny Committee is a quasi-judicial body. It has been set up for a specific purpose. It serves a social and constitutional purpose and is constituted to prevent fraud on Constitution. It may not be bound by the provisions of Indian Evidence Act, but it would not be correct for the superior courts to issue directions as to how it should appreciate evidence. Evidence to be adduced in a matter before a quasi-judicial body cannot be restricted to admission of documentary evidence only. It may of necessity have to take oral evidence. Moreover the nature of evidence to be adduced would vary from case to case. The rights of a party to adduce evidence cannot be curtailed. It is one thing to say how a quasi-judicial body should appreciate evidence adduced before it in law but it is another thing to say that it must not allow adduction of oral evidence at all. It was furthermore not proper to suggest that all such bodies should be brought within the purview of Article 235 of the Constitution of India or only judicial officers should be appointed. [111-e-h] 2. As judges, restraint should be exercised before making such observations which would have a far reaching effect. Such directions could not have been, issued in a matter where the State had not been called upon to make its comments. No empirical study as regards functioning of the Caste Scrutiny Committees was carried out. Such sweeping remarks without there being adequate materials on records were, thus, unwarranted. They are to a great extent contrary to and inconsistent with the directions issued by this Court in Madhuri Patil*.[112-a-b] Kumari Madhuri Patil and Anr. v. Addl. Commissioner, Tribal Development and Ors,* [1994] 6 SCC 241, referred to. 3. The makers of the Constitution laid emphasis on equality amongst citizens. Constitution of India provides for protective discrimination and reservation so as to enable the disadvantaged group to come on the same platform as that of the forward community. If and when a person takes an undue advantage of the said beneficent provision of the Constitution by obtaining the benefits of reservation and other benefits provided under the Presidential Order although he is not entitled thereto, he not only plays a fraud on the society but in effect and substance plays a fraud on the Constitution. When, therefore, a certificate is granted to a person who is not otherwise entitled thereto, it is entirely incorrect to contend that the State shall be helpless spectator in the matter. [114-f-h] State of Maharashtra v. Milind & Ors., [2001] 1 SCC 4, referred to. 4.1. The approach of the High Court is not correct as it proceeded on the premise that once the surname of Respondent tallied with the name of the tribe, which finds mention in one or the other entries of the schedule appended to the 1976 Order, the same must be treated to be sacrosanct and no enquiry in relation to the correctness of the said certificate can be gone into by any Committee. The observations and directions of the High Court, were not only contrary to the judgments of the Court but also fall short of the ground realities. [115-a-b] Ram Saran v. I.G. of Police, CRPF & Ors., (2006) 2 SCALE 131; Employees State Insurance Corporation v. Distilleries & Chemical Mazdoor Union and Ors., (2006) 7 SCALE 171 and Sandeep Subhash Parate v. State of Maharashtra & Ors., (2006) 8 SCALE 503, relied on. Dadaji alias Dina v. Sukhdeobabu and Ors., [1980] 1 SCC 621, held inapplicable. Palghat Jilla Thandan Samudhaya Samrakshna Samithi and Anr. v. State of Kerala and Anr., [1994] 1 SCC 359; Gayatrilaxmi Bapurao Nagpure v. State of Maharashtra and Ors., [1996] 3 SCC 685; Bank of India and Anr. v. Avinash D. Mandivikar and Ors., [2005] 7 SCC 690 and State of Maharashtra & Ors. v. Mana Adim Jamat Mandal (2006) 4 SCC 98, referred to. 4.2. The High Court although allowed the writ petitions filed by Respondent herein, did not analyze the evidences relied upon by the Committee at all. It proceeded principally on the basis that no enquiry was permissible. Merit of the matter should be considered afresh by the High Court. [118-f, g] 5. While the matter was pending judgment, this Court received letters from Respondents urging the Court not to remit the matter back to the High Court. These letters were issued presumably having regard to the observations made during hearing that the High Court had not gone into the merit of the matters. Such practice of writing letters to the judges when the matters were pending judgment is deprecated. [119-a-b] S.K. Dholakia, S.S. Shinde, Mukti Chowdhary and Ravindra Keshavrao Adsure for the Appellants. Arvind V. Savant, Sanjay V. Kharde, Chandana Ramamurthi, Sudhanshu Choudhari, Naresh Kumar, Manish Pitale, Chander Shekhar Ashri, V.B. Joshi, I. Ingle, Ramakant, R.S. Hedge, Savitri Pandey, Chandra Prakash, Rahul Tyagi, P.P. Singh, D.M. Nargolkar and V.N. Raghupathy, for the Respondents.