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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Maharashtra: Caste certificate declared invalid, Solapur BJP MP moves HC

Mahaswami, a Lingayat seer, was elected as an MP from Solapur Lok Sabha constituency, which is reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), last year.

Mumbai | Published: February 28, 2020 5:12:29 am
Jaysiddheshwar Shivacharya Mahaswami.

After the state government’s district caste scrutiny committee declared invalid the caste certificate of Jaysiddheshwar Shivacharya Mahaswami and issued directions for a case to be lodged against him, the BJP MP moved the Bombay High Court on Thursday and challenged the caste panel’s decision.

Mahaswami, a Lingayat seer, was elected as an MP from Solapur Lok Sabha constituency, which is reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), last year. He defeated Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’s Prakash Ambedkar.

Following his election, VBA leader Pramod Gaikwad and two others had complained that Mahaswami is a Lingayat but has been elected from the SC reserved Lok Sabha seat. Gaikwad had further alleged Mahaswami had obtained a bogus caste certificate in which his caste is deemed to be “Beda Jangam”, which falls under the SC category.

Mahaswami provided three documents — his father’s birth certificate of 1915 and two others — to claim he belongs to “Beda Jangam” caste. He also referred to the caste certificate issued to him in 1982 by the competent authority in Akkalkot tehsil in Solpaur.

The committee, after scrutinising records, issued an order stating that the caste certificate of Mahaswami is bogus and he belonged to “Jangam” community that falls under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category. The decision by the panel is likely to increase the troubles for the BJP MP as he may face disqualification from the Lok Sabha.

On Thursday, Mahaswami filed a plea before the high court through advocate Santosh Nhavkar, claiming that the caste claim of the petitioner was decided by the committee in a hasty manner and did not consider important pieces of evidence. Mahaswami has sought from the high court to declare that he belongs to “Beda Jangam” and also sought an interim stay on the caste panel’s order until disposal of his plea before the high court.

He submitted that “Beda Jangam” is a Scheduled Caste declared by way of a Presidential order of 1950 and the traditional occupation of the caste is to perform death ceremonies, rituals and begging. Mahaswami also claimed that the scrutiny committee passed a decision without giving him an opportunity to be heard. He further submitted that the vigilance cell report considered by the committee consists of false opinion.

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