and scrutiny committee.

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caste certificate = Committee cannot gather evidence on its own to prove or disprove his claim. 20. Having examined the present case on the touchstone of the aforesaid broad parameters, we are of the opinion that the claim of the appellant has not been examined properly. We feel that the documentary evidence produced by the appellant in support of his claim had been lightly brushed aside by the Vigilance Officer as also by the Caste Scrutiny Committee. Insofar as the High Court is concerned, it has rejected the claim solely on the basis of the affinity test. It is pertinent to note that some of these documents date back to the pre- Independence era, issued to appellant’s grandfather and thus, hold great probative value as there can be no reason for suppression of facts to claim a non-existent benefit to the `Halbi’ Scheduled Tribe at that point of time. From the documents produced by the appellant, it appears that his near paternal relatives had been regarded as belonging to the `Halbi’ Scheduled Tribe. The Vigilance Officer’s report does not indicate that the documents produced by the appellant in support of his claim are false. It merely refers to the comments made by the Head Master with reference to the school records of appellant’s father’s maternal brother and his aunt, which had been alleged to be tampered with, to change the entry from Koshti Halba to Halba and 15 nothing more. Neither the Head Master was examined, nor any further enquiry was conducted to verify the veracity of Head Master’s statement. It is of some importance to note at this juncture that in similar cases, involving appellant’s first cousin and his paternal uncle, the High Court, while observing non-application of mind by the Caste Scrutiny Committee, had decided a similar claim in their favour. We are convinced that the documentary evidence produced by the appellant was not examined and appreciated in its proper perspective and the High Court laid undue stress on the affinity test. Thus, the decision of the Caste Scrutiny Committee to cancel and confiscate the caste certificate as well as the decision of the High Court, affirming the said decision is untenable. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the claim of the appellant deserves to be re-examined by the Caste Scrutiny Committee. For the view we have taken on facts in hand, we deem it unnecessary to refer to the decisions cited at the bar. 21. Resultantly, the appeal is allowed; the decisions of Caste Scrutiny Committee and the High Court are set aside and the case is remitted back to the Caste Scrutiny Committee for fresh consideration in accordance with the relevant rules and the aforesaid broad guidelines.

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6340 OF 2004 ANAND — APPELLANT VERSUS COMMITTEE FOR SCRUTINY & — RESPONDENTS VERIFICATION OF TRIBE CLAIMS & ORS. JUDGMENT D.K. JAIN, J.: 1. This appeal is directed against the judgment of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench, delivered … Continue reading

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