Navneet Kaur Harbhajansing Kundles @ Navneet Kaur Ravi Rana vs State of Maharashtra 2024 INSC 266 :: [2024] 4 S.C.R. 121 – Caste Scrutiny – Article 226 Constitution – Certiorari

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 32, 226 – The writ of certiorari being a writ of high prerogative, should not be invoked on mere asking. The purpose of a writ of certiorari for a superior Court is not to review or reweigh the evidence to adjudicate unless warranted. The jurisdiction is supervisory and the Court exercising it, ought to refrain to act as an appellate court unless the facts so warrant. It also ought not re­appreciate the evidence and substitute its own conclusion interfering with a finding unless perverse. The High Court in a writ for certiorari should not interfere when such challenge is on the ground of insufficiency or adequacy of material to sustain the impugned finding. Assessment of adequacy or sufficiency of evidence in the case at hand, fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Scrutiny Committee and re­agitation of challenge on such grounds ought not have been entertained by High Court in a routine manner-High Courts as well as Supreme Court should refrain themselves from deeper probe into factual issues like an appellate body unless the inferences made by the concerned authority suffers from perversity on the face of it or are impermissible in the eyes of law- the writ of certiorari is expended as a remedy and is intended to cure jurisdictional error, if any, committed by the Courts/forums below. It should not be used by superior Court to substitute its own views by getting into factfinding exercise unless warranted. [See Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences and Another Vs. Bikartan Das and Others, 2023 SCC OnLine 996 – Para 51 and 52; Syed Yakoob Vs. K.S. Radhakrishnan, AIR 1964 SC 477]. (Para 15,19)

Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, De­notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012 ; Rule 13(2)(a), 17(7)– Te adjudication on the basis of the documents falls solely within the domain of Scrutiny Committee based on the inputs received from the Vigilance Cell. The Scrutiny Committee is an expert forum armed with fact finding authority- The Scrutiny Committee is not required to send every document to Vigilance Cell. It is only when the Scrutiny Committee after holding an enquiry is not satisfied with the material produced by the applicant, it may refer to Vigilance Cell. (Para 20-22)

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