[Case Brief] Dilubha D Gadhvi v/s Director & Others – Gujarat High Court

Case NameDilubha D Gadhvi v/s Director & Others
Case NumberSpecial Civil Application No 12744/12745 of 1993
CourtGujarat High Court
BenchJustice MR Shah
Advocates appearingFor petitioner – Mr PC Kavina
For respondent- Mr Prachchak, AGP
Decided onDecember 9, 2005
Judgments referredDirector of Social Welfare v/s Laveti Giri (1995)

Brief facts and Procedural History-

Two petitions have been filed before the Gujarat High Court. Since both these petitions involve a common question of facts and law, they have been decided together.

The two petitioners in the present case belong to the Charan community which is recognised as the Schedule Tribe in the State of Gujarat. Accordingly, a caste certificate was also issued to them in 1968. However, in the year 1992, this certificates issued to the petitioners were cancelled by an order passed by the Director of Adijati Vikas. By filing a petition before the High Court under Articles 226 & 227 of the Indian Constitution, the petitioners have challenged the legality and validity of the said order.

The petitioners in the present case are brothers. A caste certificate was issued to Dhilubha Gadhvi (for brevity, 1st petitioner) and on the basis of this caste certificate, he was appointed as the Inspector in Sales Tax Department and a promotion was also given to him thereafter. His brother (for brevity, 2nd respondent) got a caste certificate from the Mamlatdar on the basis of the caste certificate issued to his brother, 1st respondent. A caste certificate was granted to the first respondent because he belonged to Alavani Ness.

In the year 1992, the Director of Social Welfare asked the 1st petitioner to appear before him and produce the original documents and prove the authenticity of the caste certificate. The same show cause notice was also served on the 2nd respondent. It was the contention of the first petitioner that a caste certificate was issued to him on the basis of original documents submitted then but now he does not have his original documents and thus he cannot prove the authenticity.

However, the Director of Adijati Vikas cancelled the caste certificate on the ground that authenticity of the same was not proved. Being aggrieved, the present petition is filed before the High Court.

Petitioners Arguments-

  1. The caste certificate was issued in 1968 and it was reviewed in 1992. There has been an inordinate delay of 24 years on the part of the authorities in the present case.
  2. It is not possible for the petitioner to prove that they were the residence of Alavani Ness after 4 years.
  3. The caste certificate was issued in 1968 after satisfying the authorities with the original documents then.
  4. It is unreasonable to retain all the original documents till 1992.
  5. The Show cause notice (issued by Respondent 1) and the cancellation order (issued by respondent 2) were passed by two different authorities and thus there is a breach of Principles of Natural Justice.
  6. The cancellation order was passed by relying on the statement made by a person, and the said statement is not presented to the petitioners for countering it. Hence the principles of Natural Justice are also breached.

Respondents Arguments-

  1. The petitioner has failed to prove his residence and authenticity of the caste certificate.
  2. The burden to prove authenticity is on the petitioners.
  3. The authorities before passing the order have considered the statement made by the person from the petitioner’s village and have also taken into consideration other evidence like the school leaving certificates to hold that they are not entitled to the caste benefit.
  4. The obligation to prove authenticity can be after 33 years also (reference made to LPA No 1670/1999 of GUJ HC)
  5. The order passed by the authorities is not merely on the basis of the statement made by a person from the village, the statement merely has aided the conclusion reached.
  6. The office of respondent no 1 was bifurcated into the office of respondent no 1 & 2 and the respondent no 2 was given powers to deal with the matters relating to ST. Thus he was a competent authority to pass cancellation order and there is no breach of natural justice.
  7. The petitioners have wrongly obtained the caste certificate and the benefit of Schedule tribe.

The ratio of the court & Decision Held-

  • The petitioner had been granted ample time to prove the authenticity of their caste certificate but they failed to do so.
  • Delay cannot be a ground to quash the cancellation order.
  • The petitioners have even failed to prove as to which original documents were submitted by them in the year 1968.
  • The burden of proof is on the person seeking socio-economic advantage.
  • The petitioner did not prove the authenticity of the caste certificate but on the contrary various evidence are placed on records which challenge the same.
  • The cancellation order cannot be said to be illegal/arbitrary. It also does not suffer from any absence of mind or violation of principles of natural justice.
  • Reliance not only placed on the statement of the villager but also on several other factors.

Accordingly, the petition stands dismissed.

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