In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Navneet Kaur Rana was elected as MP from Amravati constituency, which is reserved for Schedule Caste category. During that period of time, Rana’s caste certificate attested her as “Mochi” which is one of the the Schedule Caste communities, which thus made her eligible to contest from the Amravati constituency.

In 2014, Rana had entered politics on an NCP ticket, but lost the election. However, in 2019, Rana contested as an independent party from Amravati and won against Anand Rao Adsul. A petition was filed by Anand Rao Adsul, a former MP, in the Bombay HC against Rana alleging that she had filed a fraudulent and forged certificate. The petition states that Rana got her certificate validated fraudulently from the Caste Scrutiny Committee by providing them with fabricated documents, to be within the eligibility criteria of filing the nomination.

The HC held that Ms. Rana’s claim of belonging to ‘Mochi’ caste for obtaining the Scheduled Caste certificate was fraudulent and was made with the intention of obtaining various benefits available to a candidate from such category, despite knowing that she is committing a fraud.

After proper investigation on the matter, a division bench of Justice R.D. Dhanuka and Justice V.G. Bishth directed Rana to surrender the caste certificate within six weeks. The court has further ordered her to pay Rs. 2 lakh, imposed on her as a fine to the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority within a 2 week period.

-Report by Anuj Dhar

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