The Bombay High Court has quashed Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's Caste Validity Certificate which was issued to him five years ago. A fresh scrutiny committee has been directed to verify Mr Shinde's caste claim and submit its report within two months.

"We direct the Caste Scrutiny Committee to hold an inquiry in accordance with the law, if necessary, by calling for report of the Vigilance Cell," the order passed by Justices A S Oka and A A Sayed last week stated.

An activist named Pramod Gaikwad had filed a petition in the court in 2013, challenging the Caste Validity Certificate of the union minister. Mr Gaikwad had alleged that the certificate was issued by the Divisional Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee in March 2009 without passing a reasoned order. He had filed the petition against Mr Shinde, Maharashtra government's Social Justice and Special Assistance Department and Divisional Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee.

The Bombay High Court, in its recent order, directed the above parties to appear before a fresh scrutiny committee on March 28, at 11 am.

"The Caste Scrutiny Committee shall pass an appropriate order, as expeditiously as possible, and preferably within two months from 28.03.2014," the order stated.

But the court also observed that it had not made any adjudication on the merits of the matter. It thereafter disposed off the petition.