Bombay High Court: Wife can’t rely on husband’s caste to contest election from reserved quota

The Bombay High Court held that wife cannot rely on her husband’s caste to contest an election from a reserved seat. The court relied on the decision of Supreme court in Valsamma Paul vs Cochin University and Ors. while passing this order.

A division bench of Justices Vasanti Naik and Riyaz Chagla passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by one Anuradha Sudhakar Katkar who got elected as a corporator in the Sholapur Municipal Corporation on a seat reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC).

The petitioner at the time of filing of the election form submitted documents claiming her ‘Tambat’ as her caste which is category under OBC, but it was her husband’s cast and not her father’s.

In February 2017, the petitioner was elected as corporator from the reserved OBC seat. Afterwhich, the Divisional Caste Scrutiny Committee asked the petitioner to submit relevant caste documents of her father, which she did. The petitioner father’s caste was ‘Lohar NT’ which did not fall under the category of OBC.

On March 10, the State Election Commission issued a letter to the Secretary of Town Planning Management, Mantralaya, stating that the petitioner is disqualified and her seat should be canceled.

Advocate AB Tajane, on behalf of the petitioner, contended that even though his client contested the election on the basis of her husband’s caste, she submitted the relevant documents to the committee. Hence, the petitioner should not be disqualified by virtue of Section 5B of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act.

Advocate General A.P. Vanarse on behalf Divisional Caste Scrutiny Committee & Ors. submitted that law laid down by the Supreme Court, itself disqualifies petitioner from contesting the election under her husband’s caste.

The Supreme Court in Valsamma Paul vs Cochin University said: “It is thus clear that wife can’t by relying on her husband’s caste claim right to contest election for the seat reserved for a Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe or Other Backward Classes candidate.”

Thus, the court held petitioner can’t rely on her husband’s caste to contest election and dismissed the petition.


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