Bombay HC Dismisses Pleas Seeking ST Status for Dhangar Community

Dhangar Community

The Bombay High Court has dismissed a batch of petitions seeking Scheduled Tribes (ST) status for the Dhangar (shepherd) community in Maharashtra.

The petitioners argued that a typographical error led to the community being listed as ‘Dhangar’ instead of ‘Dhangad,’ resulting in their exclusion from the ST category.

However, a bench comprising Justices Gautam S Patel and Kamal R Khata held that the petitioners failed to demonstrate that the ‘Dhangad’ community did not exist separately in the former state of Bombay when it was referenced in a Presidential Order issued in 1950.

The Presidential Order (PO) and subsequent Government Order (amendment) of 1956 included the `Dhangad’ community in the ST category, but not the Dhangars.

The Dhangar community in the state has been advocating for reservation benefits under the ST quota for a considerable period.

The crucial issue revolved around whether the community known as ‘Dhangar’ was indistinguishable from `Dhangad’, the high court highlighted.

The PO was grounded in Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution, which contain special provisions enabling affirmative action for certain communities to receive reservation and other advantages, the HC underscored. Article 342 empowers the President to notify any community as Scheduled Tribes.

The bench remarked, “If these entries are to be constantly modified, changed or chopped, it will result in chaos in administration and no person will know whether benefit availed today is liable to be taken away by judicial fiat tomorrow or what the consequences are likely to be,” while rejecting the petitioner’s demand.

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