For LS election, it is enough if candidate makes a declaration

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde can breathe a sigh of relief. His candidature from the reserved Solapur constituency for the Lok Sabha polls remains valid even though the Bombay High Court has rejected his caste validity certificate. Mr. Shinde was Maharashtra’s first Dalit Chief Minister.

“For the Lok Sabha poll, a caste validity certificate is not required. The candidate just needs to make a declaration of his caste, which Mr. Shinde has done,” said sources from the Solapur Collectorate.

“Under the Representation of the People Act, a caste validity certificate is not required for a Lok Sabha poll,” said Mr. Shinde’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde. A complaint on the caste of a candidate has to be made before the Collectorate and the returning officer has to take a final decision. However, in this case, no such complaint was made before the Collector, the sources said.

Mr. Shinde is from the Dhor community. From the 1970s till 2009 he contested various elections from the general constituency. However, in 2009, Solapur was declared reserved for the Scheduled Castes. It was then that Mr. Shinde applied for a caste certificate.

In 2012, a petition was filed in the High Court by Pramod Gaikwad challenging the caste validity certificate issued to Mr. Shinde. On Thursday, the court set aside the certificate saying proper procedure had not been followed in issuing it. It asked a caste scrutiny committee to verify Mr. Shinde’s caste documents and submit its report in two months.

Mr. Maneshinde said, “We have already submitted multiple documents to the scrutiny committee. These include his school leaving and college certificates, his caste certificate from a sub-divisional officer, his father’s death certificate and various affidavits showing his family’s lineage for two generations.”