(Per : HONOURABLE THE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE MR.BHASKAR BHATTACHARYA) By this Public Interest Litigation, the writ-petitioner has prayed for issuance of writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction to the respondent - authority to consider 'Vigat Darshak Card' (VDC) as original residential evidence for the purpose of getting Scheduled Tribe Certificate, in the interest of justice.
The grievance of the writ-petitioner is that, although some of the Mamlatdars are recognizing 'VDC' as proof of the fact that the holders of the said card belong to a Scheduled Tribe category, some other Mamlatdars are totally ignoring such certificate.
It appears to us that a Division Bench of this Court in the past in the case of Dean, B.J.Medical College and another v/s. Rabari Jitendrakumar Arjanbhai, reported in 2001(1) GLH 560, already decided the aforesaid question.
It appears from paragraph 6 of the said judgment that the Division Bench made the following observations :
"In no case, the blanket direction, as had been issued by the learned single Judge, could be issued to treat the petitioners as belonging to Scheduled Tribe only on the basis of the Vigat Darshak Card. To that extent, we find that the Letters Patent Appeals filed by the State of Gujarat deserves to be allowed and we direct that in case the Vigat Darshak Card is produced before the concerned Committee and the Mamlatdar, they may proceed to decide the Applications of the candidates claiming to be treated as members of Scheduled Tribe and in taking up such exercise, they may consider such Vigat Darshak Cards as a relevant material and the entries made therein to be correct unless there is any ground or material to disbelieve the same and find those entries to be wrong or false and each case has to be decided on its own facts and the applicant will be under an obligation to furnish the necessary materials, as may be required, besides the Vigat Darshak Card itself.The order passed by the learned single Judge is, therefore, set aside and these three Appeals are allowed, as above, with no order as to costs."
From the aforesaid observations of the Division Bench, it is clear that if a person applies for categorizing him as a member of a Scheduled Tribe by taking aid of 'VDC' granted either to him or to his parents, in such a case, ordinarily the contents of the said 'VDC' should be presumed to be correct. However, if it appears to the State-respondent that there is any material in its possession to disbelieve the contents of such 'VDC' pointing out that entries therein were wrong, it may refuse to act upon such 'VDC' by disclosing those materials to the applicant and asking him to explain those adverse materials in possession of the State-respondent. Thereafter, on consideration of the explanation that may be given by the applicant, the State-respondent will be free to take appropriate decision.
In other words, the contents of 'VDC' has a presumption of correctness unless rebutted and the same cannot be said to be conclusive.
We, therefore, dispose of this Application by relying upon the aforesaid observations and directing the respondent not to ignore the contents of any 'VDC' unless it has in its possession materials to show that the contents of such 'VDC' are incorrect. We have already pointed out that in such case, the State-respondent will disclose materials which will justify the contents of such 'VDC' to be incorrect and calling upon the applicant to adduce further evidence in support of the contents of the 'VDC'.
We, accordingly, dispose of this Application with the above directions.
(Bhaskar Bhattacharya, Acting C.J.) (J.B.Pardiwala, J.) /moin Top