Supreme Court paves way for Navneet Kaur Rana to contest Lok Sabha elections as SC candidate

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New Delhi: In a big relief for Navneet Kaur Rana, independent Member of Parliament (MP) from Amravati and now Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) candidate for the same seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the 2021 Bombay High Court order which had cancelled the Scheduled Caste certificate (SC) obtained by Rana.

The Supreme Court bench of Justices JK Maheshwari and Sanjay Karol restored the ‘Mochi’ Scheduled Caste certificate issued to Rana by the District Scrutiny Committee and said that principles of natural justice were followed by the scrutiny committee and the committee had offered all the sides to the case an opportunity to be heard and the Bombay High Court order was an undue interference.

The Supreme Court judgment that comes just days before the country goes to polls has also cleared the decks for Navneet Kaur Rana to contest Lok Sabha elections from the Scheduled Caste reserved constituency of Amravati in Maharashtra.

What was the controversy around Rana’s status as a Scheduled Caste member?

The controversy around Navneet Kaur Rana’s status as a Scheduled Caste member of the Mochi community was raised in the Bombay High Court by Shiv Sena Leader AV Adsule, who had questioned Rana’s bona fides of being a member of the Mochi community which is a scheduled caste community in Maharashtra.

While Rana claims that she belongs to Mochi community as she belongs to Shik-Char Community and chamar and Mochi words are synonyms. While Adsule’s contention was that the caste certificate obtained by Rana was done by fraud and collusion of the district caste scrutiny committee.

What did the Bombay High Court order say?

The Bombay High Court had in 2021 dealt a blow to Rana by holding that she had obtained the Scheduled Caste – Mochi certificate by fraudulent means and directed Rana to not just surrender her caste certificate but also slapped a penalty of Rs 2 lakh on her.

The High Court had in its judgement also pulled the scrutiny committee for doing its job of verification of Rana’s certificate in a callous manner.

Apex court earlier stayed High Court order

However, after the Bombay High Court verdict Rana had approached the Supreme Court, which had while admitting her petition had stayed the High Court judgment protecting her from immediate disqualification as a MP.

Now the Supreme Court verdict has not just cleared the air of uncertainty around Rana’s status as a member of SC community but has also given paved the way for her to contest the upcoming lok Sabha elections from the reserved constituency of Amravati.

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