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Community Certificate cannot be denied just because the mother and wife belong to another community: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court has upheld that a community certificate cannot be denied just because the mother and wife belong to another community through THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE V.G.ARUN in the case of R. Karthik v. State of Kerala & Ors. (WP(C) NO. 25642 OF 2021)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The petitioner’s father belonged to Hindu -Pallan community. His mother was a Hindu-Ezhava. The petitioner’s school records record his caste status as Hindu-Pallan. From childhood onwards, the petitioner had been residing in Kanayannur Taluk in Ernakulam District.  He was issued community certificates by the Tahsildar, Kanayannur Taluk, certifying that he belongs to the Hindu-Pallan community, covered by the Kerala (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Regulation of Issue of Community Certificates) Act, 1996.

The petitioner’s father was an employee in the BSNL. He availed VRS in the year 31.01.2020. Before that, the petitioner’s family shifted residence to his mother’s native place in Kollam. After that, the application for the issue of a community certificate was filed before the Tahsildar, Kollam/third respondent. The application was rejected because the petitioner was born to an inter-caste married couple, and his mother belongs to Ezhava Community. Further, the petitioner was following the customs and rituals of Hindu-Ezhava community. 

Adv.Varun C.Vijay, learned Counsel for the petitioner, contended that the impugned decisions were ex facie illegal, as they were passed without considering the crucial fact that, from birth onwards, the petitioner had grown up as a Hindu-Pallan. It was submitted that, merely because a person has married from a different community or has shifted his residence, his community status will not get altered. 

Learned Special Government Pleader submitted that Tahsildars are not having the know-how or competence to decide the community status of a person. On the other hand, the KIRTADS is having the expertise. Thus, the Court should not venture into the dispute regarding the community status of the petitioner since it is for the petitioner to prove his community status.

JUDGEMENT:

In support of the petitioner’s arguments, the court noted that, in contrast to the previous caste certificates that had been granted to the petitioner, there is no adverse observation in the report provided by the village officer other than the fact that the petitioner has changed residences and is married to a member of the Ezhava community.

The Court noted that in order to ascertain a person’s community status, the competent authority should inquire about the caste or community to which the applicant was born, how he or she was raised, the practises and customs followed, and acceptance of the incumbent by the caste or a group to which he or she claims to belong, among other things. However, in the present case, such an inquiry was not made.

The Court was unable to accept the contention that the issuance of a community certificate to the petitioner should be deferred till the scrutiny committee of the KIRTADS submits a report. A person issued with community certificate throughout his life cannot be refused the certificates in a case where the KIRTADS has not even initiated such enquiry. The fact that the petitioner had applied for selection and appointment to various posts in State Government service and any delay in obtaining community certificate will defeat his chance of securing employment was also taken into consideration.

Thus, the third respondent was directed to reconsider the petitioner’s application and issue community certificate. The issuance of such certificate would be subject to the report of enquiry, if any conducted by the KIRTADS.

For the aforementioned reasons, the writ petition was disposed of.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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