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SC issued a notice on retention of ‘Julaha’ caste status to Ex-Sarpanch

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By Weindrila Sen

An Ex-Sarpanch from a village in Haryana, approached the Apex Court after his schedule caste certificate was cancelled. The Petitioner, named Mohan Kumar approached the court to protect his ‘Julaha’ caste status. The Petitioner was elected from the reserved Scheduled Caste category for the post of Sarpanch. After receiving many complaints about his appointed, the National Commission for Scheduled Caste ordered a probe by a three-member committee. Upon investigating, the committee found out that the petitioner does not belong to the caste but was only working as a weaver(Julaha). The report submitted to Deputy Commissioner, Yamuna, by the committee further stated that the petitioner belongs to Arora Khatri Caste which comes under the General Category.

Not being satisfied by the committee’s order, the petitioner challenged the order at Punjab and Haryana High Court. The High Court upheld the committee’s order and also pointed out that the petitioner was unable to explain how his entire family took admission in a government school in general category and not schedule caste category.

Senior Advocate, Rajive Bhalla, appearing behalf of Mr. Kumar, submitted that the petitioner is more concerned with his caste status than the Gram Panchayat election. He further added that if the committee’s report is final, then it will cause a lot of inconvenience to the petitioner’s family. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the committee’s report. The Bench comprising of Justices Vineet Saran and UU Lalit issued a notice, limiting its questions to the transparency of the committee’s report and also the ‘Julaha’ caste remark upon the petitioner. The Bench further cleared that the pendency of the case shall not impact the Gram Panchayat’s Sarpanch election.