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Dalit man becomes Christian and marries a Dalit girl to claim ‘inter-caste marriage certificate’, the court dismisses plea: Read why

The Madras HC said the caste/community of both husband and wife has to be taken into consideration, and when both of them belong to the same, then they are not entitled to the inter-caste marriage certificate for the purpose of availing the benefits under various schemes.

The Madras HC on Thursday said conversion from one religion to another will not change the caste of a person he belongs to, putting paid to a bid by a Dalit man who converted to Christianity to obtain an inter-caste marriage certificate to get priority in the government jobs.

Dismissing a writ petition from S Paul Raj of Salem Camp in Mettur taluk, justice S M Subramaniam ordered that the caste of a person remains unchanged after getting converted from one religion to another, and based on the same, no inter-caste marriage certificate can be issued.

As per the 2015 law, Dalit-converts are treated as Backward Community(BC) members and not as Scheduled Castes(SC).

In Tamil Nadu, weddings of BC members with SC members are considered as inter-caste marriages entailing priority in government jobs. Justice Subramanian noted that just because a Dalit converted to another religion, and thereby obtained a BC member certificate, cannot later claim an inter-caste marriage certificate by marrying a member of the Dalit community.

“The petitioner admittedly belongs to Christian Adi-Dravidar community and by virtue of conversion to Christianity he was issued with a Backward Class certificate,” the judge observed.

The petitioner had moved the high court after the Salem district officials rejected his contention, highlighting that he himself belonged to a Dalit community and that his conversion will not undo his caste status.

The Salem district administration had cited the June 2015 order to reject the plea. Hence, the petitioner filed the current plea in the Madras High Court seeking cancellation of the order and consequently, directing the authorities concerned to issue the inter-caste marriage certificate to him.

S Paul Raj, after converting to Christianity, married a woman belonging to his erstwhile caste, the Hindu Arunthathiyar community. His wife was given the community certificate as Scheduled Caste as per the provisions of the SC/ST (Amendment) Act, 1976. While so, the petitioner, relying on a GO of the Personnel and Administrative Reforms department dated December 28, 1976, submitted an application for grant of inter-caste marriage certificate for availing the benefits of priority in public employment.

When petitioner and his wife belong to the SC community by birth, just because the petitioner had converted his religion would not make him eligible for receiving the inter-caste marriage certificate: Madras HC

In his order, the judge noted that Paul Raj belongs to Christian Adi-Dravidar, which is considered as a Schedule Caste Community and following his conversion, he was accorded with the Backward Class certificate. The wife of the petitioner is also from the Scheduled Caste. The court said when both the petitioner and his wife belong to the Scheduled Caste community by birth, just because the petitioner, by the dint of conversion, changed the religion would not make him eligible for receiving the inter-caste marriage certificate.

“The very purpose and object of issuance of the inter-caste marriage certificate are to provide certain welfare schemes and in such circumstances, the classification of various castes as Backward Class, Scheduled Caste, Most Backward Class and others cannot be a ground to claim inter-caste marriage certificate,” the court noted.

The Madras HC said the caste/community of both husband and wife has to be taken into consideration, and when both of them belong to the same, then they are not entitled to the inter-caste marriage certificate for the purpose of availing the benefits under various schemes.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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