The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee to file their replies to a plea filed by former Mumbai NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, challenging a show cause notice issued to him by the committee.

A Bench of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice Madhav Jamdar directed the state and the caste committee to file their respective replies within two weeks.

Wankhede in his plea has challenged the show cause notice issued to him by the committee on April 29 this year. He also challenged the committee's order rejecting his application challenging the locus standi of Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik, who had claimed that Wankhede lied about belonging to the Scheduled Caste to secure a central government job.

In his plea, Wankhede said the caste scrutiny committee had issued him a show cause notice on April 29, saying complaints against him and perusal of relevant documents showed that he belonged to the Muslim caste and followed Muslim religion.

The notice had asked why the committee must not confiscate and cancel Wankhede's caste certificate dated March 5, 2008, in which he had claimed that he belonged to the 'Mahar' community. Wankhede claimed the notice was "illegal, arbitrary and against the provisions of law.

Today, lawyers for the Maharashtra government and the caste committee raised a preliminary objection about the maintainability of Wankhede's plea.

The High Court, however, directed the state authorities to file their replies and directed the registry to ascertain which bench should hear the matter.

The Court has posted the matter for further hearing on July 4.

With PTI inputs