Ayaaubkhan Noorkhan Pathan vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors
Bench: B.S. Chauhan, Jagdish Singh Khehar
Appellant: Ayaaubkhan Noorkhan Pathan
Respondent: The State of Maharashtra & Ors.
The case of Ayaaubkhan Noorkhan Pathan vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors revolves around the question of whether the appellant belongs to a particular category, Bhil Tadvi Tribe, or is it just a matter of misrepresentation for attaining a government job. It also ascertains whether the defendant, who was of general category, is in power to question the authenticity of the appellant’s category. Though there was a criticism passed on the Court for not taking into concern such a nuisance, along with shocking denial in cross-examination of the witness by the defendant.
It has been stated that the appellant issued a caste certificate on 19th September 1989 vividly declaring of belonging to the Bhil Tadvi Tribe, submitted documents to the concerned authorities, and ascertained a job in the Municipal Corporation of Aurangabad for the position of a Senior Clerk, under the vacancy reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.
After some further investigation, it was reported by the Vigilance Cell that the appellant was, in fact, related to the above-mentioned tribe and was issued the legitimate documents for the same by the Scrutiny Committee. A
fter a time-lapse of 9 years, the defendant (referred to as respondent no. 5) filed a complaint before the Scrutiny Committee for the illegitimacy of the above-mentioned documents and made integral accusations that the appellant is in fact professing the religion of Islam and cannot be possibly a part of such a tribe, therefore, this is a clear-cut case of misrepresentation just to manifest a particular job position.
The Scrutiny Committee rejected this application stating that the defendant had no power/authority to question the legitimacy of such documents and that there was no statutory provision for such a request to be entertained.
The defendant, therefore, files a writ petition in accordance to the High Court of Bombay for squashing the previous order of the above-mentioned accusations and to construct a de novo enquiry from the Scrutiny Committee towards the appellant with respect to the legitimacy of the caste certificate. Hence the committee was directed to hear all the arguments and to decide the said matter within a period of fewer than six months.
Shri A.V. Savant learned counsel for the appellant stated some vivid facts:
- It was stated that the respondent was in fact belonging from a general category and had no hand, or locus standi, to say in the above matter and that the sole objective of the respondent is to harass the appellant.
- Moreover, it was stated that, even after the directions given by the Court, the Scrutiny Committee failed to endure with the principles of natural justice because the appellant was denied the chance to cross-examine witnesses.
- The council questioned the extent of justice in this case delivered by the court by stating “It has further been submitted that, despite the directions given by this Court, the Scrutiny Committee failed to ensure compliance with the principles of natural justice, as the appellant was denied the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, and no order was passed with respect to his application for recalling such witnesses for the purpose of cross-examination, which has no doubt, resulted in the grave miscarriage of justice”
- It was vividly stated that the procedure adopted by the Scrutiny Committee was in contravention of the statutory requirements in accordance with several acts and thereby all hearings should stand vitiated.
- The appellant’s documents were hereby quite old and were not supposed to be doubted upon, as this would imply that not just the appellant but everyone or anyone with such documents would be subjected to a de novo enquiry.
While the State of Maharashtra had some other points to counter:
The State of Maharashtra had filed an affidavit in the Court in which he claims that his occupation is that of a social worker. The allegations against the appellant stating that he obtained the said caste certificate fraudulently, have been repeated. Even after calling the appellant for further enquiry, under an ongoing investigation, before the Scrutiny Committee, it was observed that the appellant never showed up, which apparently shows his intent of evading the due process of law.
It was stated that A person who has suffered a legal injury can challenge any order in a court of law. A writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is ascertained either for the purpose of enforcing a legal right, or when there are allegations by an appellant that there has been a breach of legal duty on the part of the concerned authorities.
Moreover, there should be a right available for the enforcement, on the basis of which writ jurisdiction is taken in consideration. The Court can enforce the performance of a legal duty by a public body, using its writ jurisdiction at the authoritative of a person, provided that the concerned person satisfies the Court that he has a legal right to be confirmed upon
While A similar view was reiterated by this Court“… in K. Manjusree v. State of Andhra Pradesh &Anr., (2008) 3 SCC 512, wherein it was held that the applicant before the High Court could not challenge the appointment of a person as she was in no way aggrieved, for she herself could not have been selected by adopting either method. Moreover, the appointment cannot be challenged at a belated stage and, hence, the petition should have been rejected by the High Court, on the grounds of delay and non-maintainability, alone…”
#Ayaaubkhan Noorkhan Pathan vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors
After hearing the arguments from both sides, it was clear that the respondent had no intention to curtail this accusation in the context of a social right but only a sole motive to harass the appellant. The respondent was warned/restrained from further arguing in this case.
The Court said “The appeal is disposed of accordingly, however, considering the fact that respondent no. 5 has not been pursuing the matter in a bonafide manner, and has not raised any public interest, rather he abused the process of the court only to harass the appellant, the respondent no. 5 is restrained from intervening in the matter any further, and also from remaining a party to it”
Though it is an evident fact that the respondent was in no legal obligation to question the legitimacy of the appellant’s caste documents, the question which really takes away the mind is that why there is still no statutory provision for the re-examination of such documents? Not just this case, there have been many instances where the validity of such documents was questioned and, in the conclusion, there were no reasonable cornerstones that could be possibly used as a precedent.
From thorough observation it can also be observed that the respondent was not given a proper time frame to produce the required witnesses, that too when produced, the appellant wasn’t given a proper system to cross-examine them. It is clear that the Court should have intervened earlier, the Scrutiny Committee shouldn’t have been given the helm of this case.
(Writer, The Legal State)
– Edited by Samarth Pathak
(Editor, The Legal State)