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Operative Order of Hon. Mumbai High Court in WP 5028 OF 2006 Before concluding, it is necessary for this Court to observe that both under the Act as well as under the Rules, the Competent Authority has to be satisfied about the genuineness of the claim. Rule 4 which lays down the procedure to be followed by the Competent Authority for the grant or rejection of an application for a certificate empowers the Competent Authority to hold an inquiry and to gather material for determining the correctness of the claim. The function of the Competent Authority is not ministerial but is a vital step in the verification of tribe claims. The Competent Authority must be provided with a sufficient infrastructure to process and verify the claims. We are of the view that it would be necessary for the State Government to take immediate steps to provide infrastructure to the Competent Authorities in order to enable them to determine in the first instance the correctness of the caste claim before a decision is arrived at on the grant or rejection of the application. The State Government shall within a period of two months from today issue necessary administrative directions providing for infrastructure, including expert assistance and a Vigilance Cell to assist the Competent Authorities to discharge their duties. The material which is gathered by the Competent Authority under Rule 4 shall be transmitted by the Competent Authority to the Scrutiny Committee when an application is made to the Scrutiny Committee for the grant of a validity certificate. We have issued these directions in order to ensure that the process of issuing caste certificates by the Competent Authorities is not reduced to a mechanical exercise since both the Act and the Rules require the satisfaction of the Competent Authority in regard to the correctness of the claim. The benefit of the exercise which has been conducted by the Competent Authority should be made available to the Scrutiny Committees and the entire record before the former should be hence transmitted to the latter for the purposes of the proceedings before the Scrutiny Committee. The State Government shall act on the aforesaid directions and take expeditious steps in compliance within the time schedule that has been prescribed.The Reference to the Full Bench shall stand answered accordingly in the aforesaid terms. Writ Petitions shall now be listed by the Registry before the appropriate Benches at Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad, as the case may be for disposal.

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