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Gujarat High Court seeks state's reply on MLA's disqualification

Khant has challenged his disqualification from the state assembly over 'fake' caste certificate on the basis of an order of the governor dated May 2.

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Gujarat High Court seeks state's reply on MLA's disqualification
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The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday sought a reply from officials of the State Tribal Development Department, Election Commission (EC), BJP leader Vikramsinh Dindor, and officials of the revenue department in Panchmahals, after a petition filed by former independent MLA from Morva Hadaf, Bhupendrasinh Khant, came up for hearing.

Khant has challenged his disqualification from the state assembly over 'fake' caste certificate on the basis of an order of the governor dated May 2. The division bench of Justice RM Chhaya and Justice BN Karia issued notice to the authorities directing them to file their reply in the matter by July 15.

The former MLA has contended that he was disqualified by the governor on the basis of an order dated February 20, 2018, of the chairman of the analysis committee and commissioner, tribal development, wherein scheduled caste certificate granted to the petitioner was declared invalid. He has argued that the governor ought to have appreciated the fact that the February 20, 2018, order is already under challenge before a division bench of the Gujarat High court and the same is yet to be decided.

Khant argued that he belongs to the Bhil community which has been declared as a scheduled tribe (ST). He has argued that in the 2017 assembly polls, Morva Hadaf, in Panchmahals district, was reserved as a tribal seat, from where he contested and won. He has submitted that his nomination was opposed by rival BJP candidate, which was rejected by the returning officer.

On February 20, 2018, his caste certificate was cancelled by the tribal development commissioner, against which he moved before a single-judge bench of the high court. His petition was rejected and the court held that Khant had wrongly obtained the caste certificate though his father belonged to other backward caste (OBC).

The MLA has claimed that the certificate declaring him as a tribal was valid because his mother was a tribal and he grew up at his maternal grandfather's house after his father abandoned the family long ago. The court, while scheduling the next hearing, on July 15, deleted the governor as a party-respondent in the case.

Caste Row 

  • MLA claims his certificate is valid as his mother was a tribal 
  • Khant argued that he belongs to the Bhil community which has been declared as a scheduled tribe 
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