Skip to content


Pars Ram Vs. Sh. Shiv Chand and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection;Civil
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberElection Petn. No. 14 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1968P& H331
ActsCensus Act, 1948 - Sections 15; Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950
AppellantPars Ram
RespondentSh. Shiv Chand and ors.
Appellant Advocate N.L. Dhingra, Adv.
Respondent Advocate C.L. Lakhanpal,; I.S. Vimal,; M.R. Agnihotri,;
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredB. Basavalingappa v. D. Muntchinnappa
Excerpt:
- sections 100-a [as inserted by act 22 of 2002], 110 & 104 & letters patent, 1865, clause 10: [dr. b.s. chauhan, cj, l. mohapatra & a.s. naidu, jj] letters patent appeal order of single judge of high court passed while deciding matters filed under order 43, rule1 of c.p.c., - held, after introduction of section 110a in the c.p.c., by 2002 amendment act, no letters patent appeal is maintainable against judgment/order/decree passed by a single judge of a high court. a right of appeal, even though a vested one, can be taken away by law. it is pertinent to note that section 100-a introduced by 2002 amendment of the code starts with a non obstante clause. the purpose of such clause is to give the enacting part of an overriding effect in the case of a conflict with laws mentioned with the.....ordera.n. grover, j. 1. the petitioner and respondents 1 to 7 contested the elections held in february 1987 from the lambi assembly constituency (reserved seat) in the district of ferozepore. respondent no. 1 secured 11,982 votes and was declared to have been elected. it is wholly unnecessary to set out in their entirety the pleas taken in the election petition because at the stage of arguments the controversy was confined to the narrow question whether the nomination papers of respondent no. 8 kishan lal were refected by the returning officer at the time of scrutiny in accordance with law. mr. nand lal dhingra for the petitioner made a statement at the bar that he did not propose to press the allegations relating to corrupt practices which had been made in the petition.2. according to.....
Judgment:
ORDER

A.N. Grover, J.

1. The petitioner and respondents 1 to 7 contested the elections held in February 1987 from the Lambi Assembly Constituency (Reserved Seat) in the District of Ferozepore. Respondent No. 1 secured 11,982 votes and was declared to have been elected. It is wholly unnecessary to set out in their entirety the pleas taken in the election petition because at the stage of arguments the controversy was confined to the narrow question whether the nomination papers of respondent No. 8 Kishan Lal were refected by the Returning Officer at the time of scrutiny in accordance with law. Mr. Nand Lal Dhingra for the petitioner made a statement at the Bar that he did not propose to press the allegations relating to corrupt practices which had been made in the petition.

2. According to the petitioner, respondent No 8, Kishan Lal, is a Hindu and is a Chaman by caste As such he belongs to Scheduled Castes within the meaning of paragraph 2 read with Part X of the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order. 1950 (to be referred to as 'the Order') issued under Article 341 of the Constitution. Kishan Lal respondent had filed a declaration under Section 33(2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (hereinafter called 'the Act') stating his caste to be 'Chamar' which is mentioned in Part X (Punjab) of the Schedule to the Order where at item No. 9 the following castes are mentioned:--

'Chamar, Jatia Chamar, Rehgar. Raigar, Ramdasi or Ravidasi

It was alleged that the Returning Officer at first accepted the nomination papers of respondent No. 8. when the scrutiny was held on 21st January, 1967, but subsequently on an objection having been raised by respondent No. 1 that the former was not a member of the Scheduled Castes the proceedings were adjourned for decision to 22nd January 1967 on which date aftei admitting evidence the same were rejected on the ground that respondent No 8 belonged to Mochi Caste. The petitioner maintains that Chamat and Muchi are not two separate castes and that the word Mochi is merely descriptive of the profession of shoe-making.

3. Although all the respondent's were duly served, only the returned candidate respondent No 1. and Kishan Lal. respondent No 8, filed written statements and participated in the proceedings According to respondent No. 1, Kishan Lal. respondent No 8. is a Hindu but he is not a Chamar by caste It was denied that he belonged to the Scheduled Castes within the meaning of the Order In paragraph 4 (i) (a) of the written statement, it was averted inter alia that after the promulgation of theOrder in 1950 and the notification issued, respondent No. 8 and members of his family started changing their caste by describing themselves as Mochis and Chamars. Actually they do not belong to either of these two castes. The said respondent was trying to take full advantage of the fact that he was doing business in leather goods and quite often people called such leather merchants as Mochis. In any event, so it was pleaded, respondent No. 8 was not a Chamar even if he could prove that he was a Mochi. It was denied that the Returning Officer bad at first accepted the nomination papers and then proceeded to admit evidence and give his decision rejecting the nomination papers. Kishan Lal, respondent No. 8, in his written statement, supported the allegations contained in the petition. It was asserted by him that he was a Chamar by caste and was doing the business of manufacturing and selling desi leather shoes. Furthermore, he claimed that there was absolutely no difference between a Chamar and a Mochi and that the distinction was wholly artificial.

4. The petitioner filed a replication in which the position taken up in the petition was reiterated. It was reasserted that Mochi and Chamar constituted one and the samp caste.

5. In all five issues were framed out of which only the first four survive for determination. These are:--

1. Ts respondent No. 8 Kishan Lal a Hindu Chamar by caste which is a Scheduled Caste within the meaning of Part X of the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950?

2. Was the nomination paper of respondent No. 8 Kishan Lal accepted by the Returning Officer and, if so, whether the Returning Officer had the power of reviewing his order?

3. Has the nomination paper of respondent No. 8 Kishan Lal been wrongly rejected? If so, is the election of the returned candidatevoid?

4. is Chamar or Mochi one and the same caste and a Scheduled Caste within the meaning of Part X of the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950? The second and the third issues can be conveniently disposed of first. It is indisputable that if the nomination papers of respondent No. 8 were illegally or wrongly rejected by the Returning Officer, the election of the returned candidate would be liable to be set aside as void in view of the provisions contained in Section 100(1)(c) of the Act. The pleas on the basis of which issue No. 2 was framed involved the question whether the Returning Officer, Shri G.D. Bhasin, Magistrate, First Class, Fazilka, had at first accepted the nomination papers of respondent No. S and then rejected them by reviewing his previous order. Annexures 'A' and 'G', which have been filed with the petition, are admittedly the true copies of the orders made by the Returning Officer on 21st January 1967 and 22nd January 1967, respectively. The order made on the first date runs as follows:--

'I have examined this Nomination Paper In accordance with Section 36 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and decide as follows:--

Accepted.

P.S. -- Before the Nomination Paper could be accepted and signed in token thereof, it was argued that Sh. Kishan Lal is a Mochi which is not a Scheduled Caste. Adjourned for proof of a decision for 22-1-1967 at 2 p.m.'

On 22nd January 1967, the contending parties produced certain documents in the shape of school certificates as also birth certificates, etc. The Returning Officer was of the view that the castes Chamar and Mochi did not mean the same thing because in what he calls the Punjab List, Mochi had been described as a backward class and Chamar as a Scheduled caste. After discussing the documentary evidence which had been placed before him, the Returning Officer held that Kishan Lal belonged to the Mochi caste and not to the Chamar caste and, therefore, was not entitled to contest from the Reserved Constituency Lambi.

6. Now, the petitioner did not examine the Returning Officer in evidence for the purpose of substantiating his allegation that the nomination papers of respondent No. 8 had at first been accepted and were subsequently rejected by way of review of the previous order. Shri G.D. Bhasin had been summoned and was actually produced as P.W. 1 without oath tor production of the records relating to the elections from the Lambi Assembly Constituency but, as stated before, he was not asked to testify on oath to the course of the proceedings relating to scrutiny on 21st and 22nd January 1967. Kishan Lal, respondent No. 8, was examined by the petitioner as P. W. 8. He stated that at the time of scrutiny of the nomination papers the Returning Officer at first announced orders accepting his nomination. Then an objection was raised by lespodent No. 1 upon which the Returning Officer adjourned the matter to the next date. After examining evidence led by the parries on the adjourned date he rejected the nomination papers. He, however, admitted in cross-examination that, when the nomination papers were being scrutinised, an objection was raised when he was writing the order. According to the petitioner who appeared as P.W 11, the nomination papers of respondent No. 8 were accepted and when the candidates were about to leave an objection was raised by respondent No. 1. Thereupon the Returning Officer adjourned the proceedings. The kind of evidence which has been produced for the purpose of establishing that the Returning Officer had at first given a decision and had announced the same accepting the nomination papers of respondent No. 8 is of a very weak nature, apart from being interested. The orders made by the Returning Officer appeal to indicate that he had at first examined the nomination papers of respondent No. 8 and written the word 'Accepted' but before he signed the order an objection was raised that Kishan Lal was a Mochi and did not belong to the Scheduled Castes. Thereupon he adjourned the proceedings to 22nd January 1967 for proof. On the face of it the order shows that be never signed or announced the order 'Accepted' and that while he was writing the order it was argued that Kishan Lal was a Mochi and, therefore, he gave an opportunity to the parries to prove their rival contentions. There was no question whatsoever of reviewing an order which had been made and announced. Respondent No. J Shiv Chand, who appeared as R.W. 7, has clearly stated that the Returning Officer had written the word 'Accepted' on the nomination papers of Kishan Lal but at that very time objections were pressed and the Returning Officer adjourned the decision to the next date. In cross-examination he stated that the Returning Officer had not announced that he had accepted the nomination papers of Kishan Lal but he had written the word 'Accepted'. This fact was known to him because lie was sitting next to the Returning Officer. In view of the above state of evidence, Mr. Nand Lal Dhingra for the petitioner quite properly and rightly did not seriously press issue No. 2 which is decided A gainst the petitioner.

7. Under issues 1 and 4 which may be dealt with together, three questions were canvassed:

(1) Whether Chamar and Mochi constitute one and the same caste and the word 'Mochi' is merely descriptive of the profession of shoe making?

(2) Whether as a matter of tact respondent No. 8 Kishan Lal is a Chamar by caste.

(3) If Kishan Lal is not Chamar by caste and he is a Mochi, whether he would still be a member of the Scheduled Castes within the meaning of Part X of the Schedule to the Order. In the Gazetteer of the Ferozepore District, 1888-89, in table No. IX showing major castes and tribes, the total population of Chamars is stated to be 13,501. Out of whom only 74 were Muslims. The population of Mochis is given as 18,386 out of whom under the column of Males by Religion Hindus, the entry is nil. In the Punjab District Gazetteers relating to Ferozepore District, Vol. XVI, Part B, published in the year 1913, table 15 relating to tribes and castes gives the break-up of the Chamar tribe. The District totals in 1911 showed that the total population of Chamars was 32,134 out of whom 24,718 were Hindus, 7,403 Sikhs and only 13 Mohammedans. The total population of Mochis was shown as 22,884 out of whom Hindus were 1,133, Sikhs 11 and Mohamedans 21,740. In Vol. XVII of the Census of India, 1931 (Punjab), Part II, the total population of Hindu Chamars in the Province of Punjab was shown us 3,66,730 males and 3,18,224 females, The total population of Mochi Hindus was 3,081 males and 1,519 females. Mochi Muslims were 2,51,102 males and 2,09,914 females. In the Punjab District Gazetteers, Vol. XI, Part B, relating to Ferozepore District published in the year 1935, in table 15 at p. LIII in 1921, the total population of Chamars was given as 39,447 consisting of 32,520 Hindus, 6,913 Sikhs and 11 Muham-madans. Similarly, in that year the total population'of Mochis is shown to be 24,384 out of whom 1,084 were Hindus, 26 Sikhs and 23,274 Muhammadans. In the Punjab District Gazetteers, Vol. XXX-A, relating to Ferozepore District, published in 1915, the figures which are given are somewhat difrerent at p. 102. It is stated there that the Chamars comprised 32,134 persons being, 3 per cent of the total population. The break-up of the population of Chamars and Mochis as given there is as follows: --

ChamarsHindu . . . . 24,718Sikh . . . 7,403Muhammadan . . . 13Mochis.Hindu . . . . 243Sikh . . .. 334Muhammadan . . 21,813' it has further been stated-

'All the leather work is lone by the Chamars or Mochis and they also work as labourers in the fields for wages in money or in kind. But in this district mam of the Chamars are ordinan tenants, and have given up leather work for agriculture. With the Chuhras and Julahas they supply the bulk of the cultivating partners (siris) which are a leature of the agriculture of these parts. The Chamars also do the weaving of blankets and coarse cotton cloth in the Hindu villages, their place as weavers being taken in the Musalman villages by the Julahas. Possibly all the tribes, Chamar, Julaha and Mochi, engaged in weaving coarse cloth and working in tanned leather, are originally the same race, or at all events closely connected, and perhaps of aboriginal descent. The Chamars eat the flesh of cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep, all cud-chewing animals, and work in leather; but they will not eat the flesh of the camel or horse or work in leather made from their hides which are let to the Chuhras; nor will they eat fish, lizard or pig. The Chamars are practically all Hindu, and have a caste of Brahmans of theii own called Chamarawa or Gurra Brahmins, who do not eat with Chamars and who wear the sacred thread, but are quite distinct from the ordinary high caste Brahmins.'

In the Glossary of the Tribes and Caste of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, Vol. III. based on the Census Report for the Punjab, 1883. by the late Sir Denzil Ibbetson and the Census Report for the Punjab. 1892, by the Hon. E.D. Maclagan, the caste or the tribe 'Mochi' is discussed from pp 123 to 124:

'(1) a blacksmith MI the valley below Chitral and in the Gilgil mid Indus valleys: see Chitrali; (2) in the rest of these provinces the word Mochi is properly the name of an occupation, and signifies the worker in tanned leather as distinguished from the tanner. The Mochi not only makes leather articles, but he alone grains leather and gives it a surface colour or stain, as distinguished from a colour dyed throughout In the east of the Punjab the name is usually applied only to the more skill-ed workmen of the towns. In the west, however, it is simply used to designate a Musal-man Chamar; and the Mochi there is what the Chamar is in the east and belongs to the same caste, though his change of religion improves,though only slightly, his social position.

*****

Mr. Christie, indeed, said that so soon as a Chamar, whether Hindu or Musalman, abandons menial offices and confines himself to working in leather, he rises in the social scale and assumes the more respectable name of Mochi

*****

In Bawal the Hindu Mochis claim to be of theKachhwaha got, i.e., they assert a Rajput origin, and despise the Chamars and Khatiks.Another got is Chauhan. In Nabha the HinduMochis are said to affect Devi, Bhairon andother Hindu Gods.

*****

Though most of them are Muhammadans, Hindu Mochis are found in the south-east of the Punjab, where they make boxes, saddles, etc., of leather, but not shoes. Munammadan Mochis have no such prejudice.'

The tribe or caste 'Chamar' is discussed at p. 147 in Vol. II of the aforesaid Glossary:--

'The Chamar is the tanner and leather-worker of North-Western India, and in the western parts of the Punjab he is called Mochi whenever he is, as he generally is, a Musalman, the caste being one and the same. The name Chamar is derived from the Sanskrit charmakara or 'worker in hides'. But in the east of the Punjab he is far more than a leather-worker. He is the general coolie and field labourer of the villages; and a Chamar, if asked his caste by an Englishman at any rate, will answer 'Coolie' as often as 'Chamar'. They do all the begar, or such work as cutting grass, carrying wood and bundles, acting as watchmen, and the like; and they plaster the houses with mud when they need it. They take the hides of all dead cattle and the flesh of all cloven-footed animals, that of such as do not divide the hoof going to Chuhras. They make and mend shoes, thongs for the cart, ana whips and other leather work; and above all they do an immense deal of hard work in the fields. each family supplying each cultivating association with the continuous labour of a certain number of hands.'

It may be mentioned that the figures which have been taken from the Census Reports are being used for the purpose of seeing the background and the development of the population of the castes described as Chamars and Mochis in the Ferozepore District in particular, and in Punjab, in general. Mr. Nand Lal Dhingra has urged that under Section 15 of the Census Act, 1948, no reliance can be placed on any census reports. According to that section, no person shall have a right to inspect any book, register or record made by a Census Officer in the discharge of his duty as such, or any schedule delivered under Section 10 nor can any entrytherein be admitted into evidence in any civil proceeding. In the present case there is no question of looking at any entry contained in any book, register, record or schedule prepared by or delivered to a Census Officer. The section, in my opinion, does not bar a reference, to any historical or statistical or similar information relating to tribes, castes or religions of persons inhabiting a particular area and it only bars inspection of any book, register or record made by a Census Officer in the discharge of his duty as such. That must have reference only to the original books or documents which the Census Officer himself prepared while carrying out the task of taking census in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

8. My conclusion on the first question is that, although, as stated in the Gazetteer of the Ferozepore District of 1915, the Chamars and Mochis, who were workers in tanned leather, were originally of the same race or at all events closely connected, the Mochis developed into a distinct caste or sub-caste in the course of years. It may be that the occupation of shoemaker is closely associated with the word 'Mochis' but it is well known that certain castes and sub-castes have come into existence as a result of following a particular profession or avocation or occupation. The figures relating to the population of Chamars and Mochis in the District of Ferozepore, seem to indicate that the Chamars were preponderantly Hindus and there appears to be a good deal of substance in the statement contained in the Gazetteer of 1915 that in Musalman villages, the place of Chamars as leather-workers had been taken by Mochis. At the same time it is significant that there were Hindus classified under the heading 'Mochis' in the Ferozepore District as also in the whole of Punjab according to the figures mentioned at p. 8 (supra). Mr. Dhingra for the petitioner has not been able to explain why from very early times Chamars and Mochis were shown as distinct castes or groups. Reference may also be made to the statement in the Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, Vol. III (at p. 11) wherein it is stated that as soon as a Chamar, whether Hindu or Musalman, abandons menial offices and confines himselfs to working in leather, he rises in the social scale and assumes the more respectable names of Mochi and that in various parts of Punjab, Hindu Mochis asserted a Rajput origin. As regards Chamars. it is stated in the same Glossary that they remove the hides of all dead cattle and take the flesh of all cloven-footed animals and that they make and mend shoes, thongs for the carl, and whips and other leather work. In the Glossary at p. 469 of the Census of India, 1911, Vol XIV, relating to Punjab, Part I, it is stated about Mochis that they are both Hindus and Mohammadans, there being only 195 Sikhs and that they had been returned all over the Province, excepting a few small States. In the east of the Punjab, the term was applied to the more skilled workmen of the towns. In the west, however, it was simply used to designate a Mohammadanworker in leather, whether it be the skinner, the tanner, or the shoe-maker.

9-10. The oral evidence on the point may be discussed, (After discussing the evidence, his Lordship proceeded):

11. The general evidence of the witnesses produced by the parties with regard to Chamars and Mochis being separate castes is again conflicting but I see no reason to ignore what two responsible officers have stated who were admittedly Chamars and with regard to whom nothing has been shown as to why they should have made a statement that the Mochis and Chamars were distinct castes. I am referring to the evidence of Malkiat Singh, R.W. 1 and D.D. Kashyap, R.W. 3. At this stage reference may be made to the manner in which evidence was considered in Bhaiya Lal v. Harikishan Singh (AIR 1965 SC 1557) in a similar matter. The controversy in that case was whether the Dohar caste in the district of Sehore in Madhya Pradesh was different from the Chamar caste. Respondent No. 1 who contended that the appellant was not a Chamar and that the Dohar caste was different from the Chamar caste examined 13 witnesses belonging to the caste of the appellant, This is how their Lordships proceeded to discuss the evidence

'The evidence shows that Chamars and Mochis of Sehore district lived in mohallas different from the mohallas in which the Dohars lived. Amongst the witnesses examined by respondent No. 1, the High Court has attached considerable significance to the evidence of Kishanlal, P.W. 4. He was the Secretary of the Dohar Samaj started by the appellant himself. The appellant was then the Sirpanch of that Samaj. It i.s true that the Samaj did not function for long; but the documents produced by respondent No. 1 to show the constitution of the Samaj clearly indicate that the appellant had taken a prominent part in that matter. Kishanlal's evidence is absolutely clear and unambiguous. He has slated on oath that the Dohar and the Chamar castes are entirely different. The Chamars, according to him, take of skins from dead animals, prepare shoes and do leather work; the Dohar, said the witness, is not the sub-caste of Chamar caste: there is no relationship of inter-dining and inter-marriage between the two. He denied that the Dollars are called Mochis. Mr. Chatterjee has not been able to slum any reason why the evidence of this witness should not have been believed by the High Court. The witness belongs to the same caste as the appellant and there is no motive shown why he should take a false oath in respect of a matter which to persons of his status has great significance. It is not likely that a person like Kishan Lal would make false statement about his own caste.'

The evidence led In the respondent coupled with the admissions contained in the statements of the petitioner's witnesses including the petitioner himself establishes that the Chamars take off or remove skins from dead animals, do leather-tanning, make and mend shoes, and putthe stitching thread into then mouth whereas the Mochis only make new shoes and do leather work but do not do any of the other things. It would also appear that the Mochis do lot inter-marry with the Chamars. As stated before, I am generally impressed with the evidence of D.D. Kashyap. R.W. 3, who belongs to the same caste, namely, Chamar, to which the petitioner claims to belong, and Mr. Dhingra has not been able to show any reason why this witness should have given false evidence. It appears that the Hindu Mochis have developed into a higher caste or caste-group than that of the Chamars. particularly in the matter of social status. The illustration given by D.D. Kashyap that just as Khatris consider themselves to belong to a higher caste than Aroras, similarly Mochis regard their caste as higher than that of the Chamars is quite apt. Moreover, as staled before, Nand Lal, P.W. 6, stated that at the functions like marriages in his family pandits from Arya Samai or Sanatan Dharam were failed.

12. A reference to the Order shows that almost in every other State with the exception of Punjab and Haryana, there is a separate mention of Mochis even though the caste 'Chamar' is mentioned. For instance, item 2 relating to the State of Andhra Pradesh is 'Chamar, Mochi or Mochi'. Item 4, however, relating to Bihar and Madras is 'Chamar or Mochi', although there is a separate classification given with reference to districts. As regards Rajasthan, item 16 runs thus:

'Chamar, Bhambhi, Jatav, Jatia, Mochi, Raidass Raigar or Ramdasia.'

In Gujarat, however, in the district of Dangsand Umbergaon taluka of Surat District, Mochiis shown as separate entity from Chamar Theentries relating to Punjab have already beengiven and as regards Haryana after the reorganisation of the erstwhile State of Punjab,they are the same as Punjab and there is nomention of Mochi therein. It is unnecessary tomention about all the other States except the Union Territories of Delhi and Himachal Pradesh. As regards the former. Entry No. 10 is'Chamar, . Mochi. The position relating to Himachal Pradesh is interestingindeed. In the notification issued, it is stated:

'Throughout the Union Territory, except the territories specified in Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

*****

14. Chamar. Mochi. Ramdasi, Ravidasi or Ramdasia '

Now, as regards the territories specified in Subsection (1) of Section 5 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, Entry 9, does not contain Mochi. These territories formed part of the erstwhile State of Punjab before the enactment of the Punjab Reorganisation Act. 1966 The entries in the order have been referred to by one for a two-fold purpose, The first is to examine the rival contentions of the counsel based on them. Counsel for the petitioner has urged that where Mochi and Chamar have been speci-tied under the same heading. It should be held that the same caste bore different names. In Bhaiya Lal's case, AIR 1965 SC 1557, it has been stated at p. 1560 that the Order has taken good care to specify different castes under the same heading where enquiry showed that the same caste bore different names, or it had sub-castes which were entitled to be treated as Scheduled Castes tor the purposes of the Order. Particular mention was made by their Lordships of Item 2, Entry 3 in the district of Datia which referred to Chamar, . . . , Mochi, . . Since there is no mention of Mochi under the same heading 'Chamar' in the entry relating to Punjab in the Order, it is not possible to accede to the contention that it is the same caste bearing different names. On the contrary, it can well be said that, so tar as Punjab is concerned, Mochi was not considered to be a different name of the same caste, namely the Chamar ami. therefore, the entries in the Order can hardly be of much assistance in determining whether Mochi and Chamar are different names of the same caste. The other purpose fur which reference has been made to them relates to question No. 3 which may be conveniently disposed of at this stage. The point for consideration is whether a Mochi would be a member of the Scheduled Castes in Punjab within the meaning of Part X of the Schedule to the Order, although that caste is not specifically mentioned there. In Bhaiya Lal's case, AIR 1965 SC 1557 (supra), their Lordships have pointed out that the plea that the Dohar caste is a sub-caste of the Chamar caste cannot be entertained in view of the Order issued by the President under Article 341 of the Constitution. In order to determine whether or not a particular caste is a Scheduled Caste within the meaning of Article 341, it has been emphasised by their Lordships that one has to look at the public notification issued by the President in that behalf. Their Lordships proceeded to say:

'In the present case, the notification refers to Chamar, Jatav or Mochi, and so in dealing with the question in dispute between the parties, the enquiry which the Election Tribunal can hold is whether or not the appellant is a Chamar, Jatav or Mochi. The plea that though the appellant is not a Chamar as such, he can claim the same status by reason of the fact that he belongs to the Dohar caste which is a sub-caste of the Chamar caste, cannot be accepted. It appears to us that an enquiry of this kind would not be permissible having regard to the provisions contained in Article 341.'

Their Lordships distinguished the decision in B. Basavalingappa v. D. Muntchinnappa (AIR 1965 SC 1269) on the ground that there were special and unusual circumstances in that case which justified the High Court in holding that Voddar caste was the same as the Bhovi caste within the meaning of the Order. The view expressed in Bhaiya Lal's case, AIR 1965 SC 1557, would thus greatly stand in the way of the petitioner for establishing that, although Mochi is not included in the entry relating to Punjab in the Order, Kishan Lal should stillbe deemed to have been a member of the Scheduled Castes within the meaning of the Order. Counsel for the petitioner has relied a great deal on the other decision in B. Basavalingappa's case, AIR 1965 SC 1269 (supra). In that case it was held that Voddar caste of the Mysore State before the States Reorganisation in 1958 was the same as the 'Bhovi' caste--mentioned in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950. It was, however, laid down that ordinarily it was not open to give evidence that the Voddar caste was the same as the Bhovi caste specified in the Order because Voddar caste was not mentioned (after the Bhovi caste) but difficulty arose in the case of Mysore State as it was before the States Reorganisation in 1956 from the tact that there was no caste known as Bhovi caste at all although the Order referred to such a caste. It was said that in such circumstances it must be accepted that there was some caste which the President intended to include after consultation with the Rajpramukh in the Order and, therefore, the only course open to Courts to find out which caste was meant by Bhovi was to take evidence in that behalf. I do not consider that the decision in this case can be of any avail to the petitioner who in the absence of any special or peculiar circumstances of the nature obtaining in that case could not even be allowed to give evidence or to show that, for the purposes of the Order, Mochi was the same caste as Chamar and that even if Kishan Lal, respondent No. 8, was a Mochi, he belonged to the Scheduled Castes notified in the Order.

13. Question No. 2 may now be decided. It has been asserted on behalf of the petitioner that respondent No. 8, Kishan Lal, is a Chamar by caste. The evidence which has been led by the petitioner in support of this case is of the following three kinds:--

(a) The acceptance of the nomination paper of Kishan Lal, Exhibit P-2, which he filed as a member of the Scheduled Caste and which was accepted for the purpose of election to the Municipal Committee. Abohar, in 1961;

(b) Entries from the school registers relating to the sons and several other relations of Kishan Lal; and

(c) Oral evidence relating to the caste of Kishan Lal.

(After discussing the oral and documentary evidence on record, his Lordship proceeded;)

(21) For the above reasons I am satisfied that Kishan Lal has not been proved to be a Chamar by caste. The petition fails and it is dismissed with costs. Only the contesting respondent No. 1 shall be entitled to the costs which are assessed at Rs. 712.55 including counsel's fees fixed at Rs. 500.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //