AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Governor O P Kohli has disqualified independent MLA from Morva Hadaf seat, Bhupendra Khant, for submitting an invalid caste certificate for contesting election from the assembly segment reserved only for the ST community.
The announcement about Khant's disqualification was made on Friday by Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi.
"The Gujarat governor has disqualified Bhupendra Khant as an MLA with effect from May 2. I received the communication today. The governor took the decision after Khant's caste certificate was found to be invalid. After Khant's disqualification, the Morva Hadaf seat now stands vacant," Trivedi told reporters in Gandhinagar.
After learning about his disqualification, Khant said he would approach the Supreme Court, as he had earlier lost the legal battle in the Gujarat High Court over this issue.
Morva Hadaf constituency in Panchmahal district is a reserved seat for tribal candidates.
After Khant won the seat in 2017, a petition was filed in the high court by his opponents alleging that his caste certificate, which says he is from ST community, is not valid.
Khant had lost the case as the scrutiny committee of tribal development department last year found his caste certificate to be invalid.
Khant had claimed that his father belonged to the OBC community, while his mother was a tribal.
In his petition, Khant had claimed that the certificate declaring him to be a tribal was valid because he grew up at his grandfather's house after his father abandoned the family long ago.