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Court should apply its mind to the entire documentary evidence to accept the evidence or rejecting it

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL No.2095 OF 2007

Vilas Dinkar Bhat  ….Appellant(s)

VERSUS

State of Maharashtra & Ors.        …Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

1) This   appeal   is   directed   against   the   final judgment   and   order   dated   12.07.2004   passed   by the   High   Court   of   Judicature   at   Bombay   in   Writ Petition   No.7518   of   2002   and   the   judgment   and order dated 11.12.2006 in Review Petition No.2982 of 2006 whereby the High Court dismissed the Writ Petition   and   also   the   Review   Petition   filed   by   the appellant herein.

2) Few facts need to be mentioned to appreciate the short issue involved in the appeal.

3) The question arises in this appeal is about the caste of the appellant ­whether the appellant belongs to a caste, known as “Thakar”­ a Schedule Tribe, or not.

4) According to the appellant, he by birth belongs to   “Thakar”   caste   which   is   a   Schedule   Tribe   and, therefore,   he   is   entitled   to   claim   a   declaration   to that effect in his favour.

5) For   claiming   this   declaration,   the   appellant approached   to   the   Committee   concerned   and   also the   High   Court   of   Bombay   twice   but   his   claim  suffered   dismissal   before   the   Committee   and   the High   Court   in   the   writ   petition   on   both   the occasions giving rise to filing of this appeal by way of special leave against the order of the High Court.

6) Submission   of   learned   counsel   for   the appellant was essentially one.  His argument is that though   the   appellant   had   filed   as   many   as   50 documents in support of his case to prove that he belongs   to   a   caste   “Thakar”   but   unfortunately neither   the   Committee   and   nor   the   High   Court examined the documents in their proper perspective in   their   respective   jurisdiction   and,   therefore,   the matter needs to be reconsidered by the Committee afresh.

7) Learned   counsel   especially   brought   to   our notice the documents at pages 30 to 33 of the SLP paper   book,   which,   according   to   learned   counsel, are in his favour but none of these documents were  considered   either   by   the   Committee   or   the   High Court.

8) In   reply,   learned   counsel   for   the   respondent (State)   supported   the   impugned   order   of   the   High Court.

9) Having   heard   the   learned   counsel   for   the parties and on perusal of the record of the case, we are   inclined   to   allow   the   appeal   and   while   setting aside the impugned order and also the order of the Committee,  remand the case to the Committee for fresh   consideration   of   the   appellant’s   case   on   its merit.

10) On perusal of the Committee’s order, we find that   the   Committee   though   considered   some documents   filed   by   the   appellant   but   did   not consider all the documents on which the appellant had   placed   reliance.   The   High   Court   in   its   writ jurisdiction declined to go into the merits of the writ  petition   stating   that   since   the   issue   involves questions of fact, it is not possible to examine the case on facts in its writ jurisdiction. It is more so when the Committee probed the issue in detail on facts.

11) In our opinion, when a party relies upon any evidence,   whether   it   is   oral   or   documentary,   in support   of   his   case,   the Court/Committee/Authority,   as   the   case   may   be, and   especially   the   original   Court   is   under   an obligation   to   apply   its   mind   to   the   entire documentary   evidence   on   which   the   party   has placed reliance for proving his case and record its reasoned findings whether   accepting  the evidence or   rejecting   it.     What   is   important   is   the consideration   of   entire   evidence   adduced   by   the parties   in   accordance   with   law   while   deciding   the case.

12) It is  for  this reason, we consider it proper to remand   the   case   to   the   Committee   for reconsideration of the appellant’s case on its merits in   accordance   with   law   keeping   in   view   our observation  made  supra  because we find that this principle was not followed by the Committee while considering the appellant’s case.

13) The   Committee   will   decide   the   matter   after affording an opportunity to the appellant strictly in accordance   with   law   without   being   influenced   by any   of   our   observation   on   merits   which   we   have refrained   to   make   once   formed   an   opinion   to remand the case to the Committee.

14) The   appeal   thus   succeeds   and  is   accordingly allowed.   Impugned   order   and   the   order   of   the Committee are set aside. The case is remanded to the   Committee   for   its   disposal   afresh,   as   directed above, within six months.

[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
[S. ABDUL NAZEER] New Delhi;

August 10, 2018

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