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Kiranlata Vs. The Divisional Caste Certificate Scrutiny, Committee No. 3, Nagpur Division and Ors. - (High Court of Bombay) (04 Feb 2019)

Caste is acquired by birth and the caste does not undergo a change by virtue of marriage and adoption



The Petitioner claims to be belonging to "Mahar" caste, which is included in Scheduled Caste Category. The Petitioner has been appointed as Staff Nurse, at Medical College. Then the Petitioner started working on the same post. Petitioners' caste certificate issued by Executive Magistrate, relating to "Mahar" Caste was referred to the Scrutiny Committee for scrutiny and verification. The Scrutiny Committee after obtaining Vigilance Cell report, observed that, the Petitioner is keeping faith and following traits, and customs of Christian community. Accordingly Committee has invalidated Petitioners' caste claim vide impugned order.

The pre-constitutional document of the year 1943 showing Petitioners grandfather's caste as Mahar (Scheduled Caste), has not been properly appreciated by the Committee. The Committee was influenced by the sole ground that, the petitioner married with Christian and attending Church. There is no evidence that the petitioner embraced Christianity by undergoing Baptism ceremony. Merely because husband of Petitioner belongs to Christian community, that by itself is not sufficient to infer that the Petitioner has abandoned Hindu faith and converted into Christianity.

It is apparent that, the Petitioner's grandfather namely Nago, belongs to "Mahar" Caste which is evident from pre-constitutional entry. It is not in dispute that, Petitioner married to a persons belonging to Christian community. In case of Rajendra Shrivastava .vrs. State of Maharashtra and others MANU/MH/0036/2010 ruled that, a woman who is born into a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe, on marriage with a person belonging to a forward caste, is not automatically transplanted into the caste of husband by virtue of her marriage. The Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of V.V. Giri .vrs. D. Suri Dora ruled that the caste is acquired by birth and the caste does not undergo a change by virtue of marriage and adoption. In view of the said settled position of law, the conclusion drawn by the Committee is totally erroneous.

Petitioner's marriage with a Christian or visiting church or keeping the photograph of Lord Yeshu in house, would not denude her from the original caste to which she belongs. In terms of undisputed pre-constitutional document, the Petitioners original caste is Mahar, therefore, onus lies on the vigilance cell to establish conversion is Christianity, which was not discharged. There is no material to show that, the community has treated Petitioner as Christian or she has undergone the ceremony of baptism. The Scrutiny Committee has overlooked the vital documents of the year 1943. The vigilance cell has not conducted thorough inquiry by recording statement and verifying the things.

The order passed by Respondent no. 1 District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee, impugned in present petition was set aside. Petitioner has established her claim for "Mahar" in the List of Scheduled Caste in the State of Maharashtra. Respondent Scrutiny Committee is accordingly, directed to issue validity certificate in her name, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of this order. Petitioner would be entitled to all the benefits of Scheduled Caste.

Relevant : Rajendra Shrivastava v. State of Maharashtra and others MANU/MH/0036/2010, V.V. Giri v. D. Suri Dora


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