Can a married woman rely on her husband’s caste to contest an election from a reserved seat?

​Ms. Anuradha Sudhakar Katkar v. Divisional Caste Scrutiny Committee & Ors.


CIVIL APPLICATION NO. 2327 OF 2017


IN


WRIT PETITION NO. 9528 OF 2017



Facts


Writ petition was filed by one Anuradha Kakar who got elected as a corporator in the Sholapur Municipal Corporation on a seat reserved for Other Backward Classes. At the time of filing of the election form, the petitioner submitted documents claiming ‘Tambat’ (OBC) as her caste. But this was her husband’s caste, not her father’s. The petitioner was then elected in February 2017 from the said seat. Following this, the Divisional Caste Scrutiny Committee asked the petitioner to submit relevant caste documents of her father’s side, which she did. Her father’s caste was ‘Lohar NT’. Thereafter, on March 10, the State Election Commission wrote to the Secretary of Town Planning Management, Mantralaya, stating that the petitioner’s election should be cancelled retrospectively. However, due to non-availability of members of the scrutiny committee, no decision regarding the caste claim of the petitioner was taken. Consequently, the said writ petition was filed.

Issue

Can a married woman rely on her husband’s caste to contest an election from a reserved seat?

Contentions


Petitioner


The petitioner’s counsel submitted that even though his client contested the election on the basis of her husband’s caste, she complied with the request of the committee to furnish documents regarding her father’s caste. Hence, the petitioner should not be disqualified in view of Section 5B of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, he said

Respondents


The Respondents submitted that it was very clear from the law laid down by the Supreme Court that the petitioner cannot rely on the caste of her husband’s side as ‘Tambat’ OBC and contest the election under that caste. They further submitted that there is no merit in the Petition, as the Petitioner is now seeking validity of her caste from her father’s side after having been elected as Corporator. He has submitted that the period of six months has also expired since the date of filing her Caste Certificate for the contesting election and for seeking seat available for the candidate of OBC category. He has therefore, submitted that the present Petition ought to be dismissed.

Judgment


Relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Valsamma Paul vs Cochin University, the court said: “It is thus clear that a married woman cannot by relying on her husband’s caste claim entitlement to contest election for the seat reserved for a a Scheduled Caste candidate.” Thus, the court held that the petitioner was wrongfully elected to the reserved seat and dismissed the petition. The Court was of the view that the Petitioner has been wrongfully elected as Corporator based on the caste case from her husband’s side. We are therefore of the view that the Petition deserves to be dismissed, in view of the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Meera Kanwaria.

(This is submitted by Mayank Singhal, a Law Student)

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