A.M. Khanwilkar, J.
1. Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith by consent.
This petition takes exception to the order passed by the respondent No. 2 dated 19th August, 2000 invalidating the caste claim of the petitioner. The column for ‘reasons’ at No. 6 in the said order reads as under:
“No information and clinching documents have been produced in support of the caste claim.”
No other reason is indicated by the respondent No. 2 while invalidating the caste-claim of the petitioner. On the other hand, the petitioner had filed documents in support of the caste claim, efficacy of which has not been considered in the impugned order at all. This approach cannot stand the test of judicial scrutiny.
2. It is, however, relevant to point out that this Court has observed that similar orders have been passed by the respondent No. 2 in other cases as well. The law as to the practice and procedure to be adopted by the Caste Scrutiny Committee is no more res-integra and well settled by catena of decisions of the Apex Court including Madhuri Patil (Kumari) v. Addl. Commissioner, Tribal Development, 1995(2) Bom.C.R. (S.C.)690. It is, therefore, high time that the respondent No. 2 should be well advised to adopt the said procedure as enunciated by the Apex Court at least in future cases.
3. The learned A.G.P. appearing for the contesting respondents 1, 2 and 4 has fairly conceded that the order under challenge cannot be sustained.
4. In the circumstances, this writ petition succeeds and the impugned order passed by the respondent No. 2 is set aside. Instead, the matter is remanded to the respondent No. 2 for de-novo inquiry. Needless to mention that the respondent No. 2 shall offer a fair opportunity to the petitioner before taking final decision in the matter. The respondent No. 2 shall complete the procedure within three months from the date of receipt of this order.
At this stage the learned Counsel for the petitioner points out that his main grievance is that although the petitioner had submitted documents before the respondent No. 2, which would conclusively decide the caste claim of the petitioner; however, the respondent No. 2 refused to acknowledge the receipt of the said documents. The learned A.G.P. assured that this aspect of the matter would be examined by the respondent No. 2 and necessary remedial steps would be taken. The learned A.G.P. also assures that in future cases proper record would be maintained by the Committee so that no such a grievance is repeated before the Court. The learned Counsel for the petitioner prays that since the petitioner has already been admitted in the Engineering course and is pursuing his studies, it would be necessary to protect the interest of the petitioner. The learned A.G.P. rightly submits that since the impugned order is set aside, there is no order passed by the Competent Authority invalidating the caste claim and, therefore, the petitioner would continue his studies in the reserved category until the final decision is taken by the respondent No. 2. However, if the respondent No. 2 once again invalidates the caste claim of the petitioner, the said order shall not be given effect for a period of two weeks from the date of its service on the petitioner, so as to enable the petitioner to take out appropriate proceeding available in law.
Rule made absolute in the above terms. No order as to costs.