Conversion to another religion not a basis for inter-caste certificate: Madras HC

The Madras High Court has ruled that the caste of a person remains unchanged after converting from one religion to another, and on the basis of the same, no inter-caste marriage certificate can be issued.

Justice SM Subramaniam delivered the verdict last week while dismissing a writ petition by S Paul Raj of Salem Camp in Mettur taluk.

The petition sought quashing of an order dated June 19, 2015 of the Salem district administration and consequently a direction to the concerned authorities to issue inter-caste marriage certificates to them.

The petitioner was from the Adi-Dravidian community. As soon as they converted to Christianity, they were issued a community certificate classifying them as Backward Classes according to a GO of the Social Welfare Department dated July 30, 1985.

He married a woman from the Hindu Arunthathiyar community.

The petitioner’s wife was given a community certificate as a Scheduled Caste in accordance with the provisions of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Amendment) Act, 1976. Whereas, the petitioner relied on a GO of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms dated 28th December, 1976. Submitted an application for grant of inter-caste marriage certificate to get the benefit of priority in public employment.

Till the order of June 2015, the Salem district administration rejected the petition. Hence, the present petition.

The judge said that the petitioner in this case belongs to Christian Adi-Dravidian, who is also a Scheduled Caste community and after his conversion, he was issued a backward class certificate. The wife of the petitioner, believed to be from the Scheduled Castes.

When both the petitioner and his wife belong to the Scheduled Caste community by birth, merely because the petitioner has changed religion on the ground of conversion, he shall not be compelled to obtain an inter-caste marriage certificate, the court ruled.

The purpose and object of issue of Inter-caste Marriage Certificate is to provide certain welfare schemes and in such circumstances the classification of different castes as Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Most Backward Classes and others cannot be the basis for claiming Inter-caste Marriage. certificate.

It is the caste/community which has to be taken into account and when both husband and wife are same, they are not entitled for inter-caste marriage certificate for the purpose of availing benefits under various schemes. Thus, the order passed is in conformity with the principles laid down, the judge said and dismissed the petition.

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