Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Oct 27, 2012, 01.35AM IST

NAGPUR: In an important verdict, the Bombay high court’s bench in Aurangabad has ruled that caste claims can’t be rejected on the basis that the parents originally belong to other states.

“The caste claims of the petitioners shall not be rejected only on the ground that their parents originally belong to a region which forms part of state of Karnataka,” a division bench comprising RM Borde and SS Shinde said before granting relief to a medical student and a nurse.

The caste claims of petitioners – Preeti and Narsabai Kamble – were declined by Caste Scrutiny Committee mainly on the ground that their parents are original residents of Bider district in Karnataka. The committee stated that “the petitioners are not entitled to claim benefits in the state of migration”.

“Since the aforesaid region, prior to reorganization of states was a part of the state of Hyderabad, part of the locality of the said district presently forms part of the state of Maharashtra,” the court added.

Preeti had got admission to BAMS course while Narsabai is a nurse. Both belong to the Scheduled Caste (SC) category. Their caste ‘Mahar’ has been recognized in both Maharashtra and Karnataka. They hail from Lakhangaon and Wanjarkheda villages in Bhalki town of Bider even though later on their parents had migrated to Maharashtra and settled here.

These villages are among the 865 bordering villages which are a bone of contention between the two states. A part of Bider district, after reorganization of states in 1956, came under Karnataka. Maharashtra had claimed that these 865 villages, currently included in Karnataka, is comprised predominantly of Marathi speaking population and should be included in its jurisdiction.

The judges observed that petitioners hail from a region which forms part of erstwhile Hyderabad state that comprised the Marathwada region. This was later on included in Maharashtra after reorganization.

“The locality, to which the petitioners originally belong, is predominantly Marathi speaking one and forms part of the region bordering Karnataka. Maharashtra has put forth claim on these 865 villages and extended benefits to the residents regarding education and employment,” the judges said.

Citing Maharashtra government’s GR of July 10, 2008, the judges stated that it permitted residents of these 865 bordering villages to apply for the posts coming within the purview of Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC), thus, extending opportunity of employment to the eligible candidates.

The court further stated that the respondent committee had erred in invalidating the caste claims of the petitioners only on the ground that original residence of their parents comes under Karnataka.

The committee’s orders of rejecting caste claims were quashed and set aside and the matters were remitted back to it for reconsideration, by the high court. It was further told to decide caste claims of petitioners considering evidence placed before it and after extending opportunity of hearing them for putting forth their contentions afresh, in accordance with provisions of law.