Inter Caste Marriage Certificates cannot be granted merely on account of conversion of one of the parties and religious conversion would not lead to change in a person’s caste: Madras High Court

In a judgment dated 17.11.2021 passed by Madras High Court, it was observed that conversion does not alter the caste of a person and the said aspect cannot be suppressed to grant an inter-caste marriage certificate on the basis of his current community certificate. The court was dealing in the matter of S. Paul Raj v. The Tahsildar, Mettur Thaluk & Anr. (W.P.No.15193 of 2016 & W.M.P.Nos.13240 & 13241 of 2016). This case was presided by Hon’ble justice S.M. Subramaniam.


The petitioner belongs to Christian Adi-Dravida community. The petitioner married a girl, namely, G. Amutha, who studied up to Master of Physical Education. She belongs to Hindu Arunthathiyar community. They solemnized their marriage in 2009 at Kolathur Mettur (Taluk), Salem District. The wife of the petitioner was given the Community Certificate as Scheduled Caste as per SI.No.5 of SC/ST (Amendment) Act, 1976.

The petition was filed for the issuance of a writ of mandamus, asking that the court issue instructions to the authorities to issue an inter-caste marriage certificate. The petitioner claimed that because he had been issued a community certificate for the “backward class” and that his wife belonged to the Scheduled Caste, he was qualified for the certificate and could thus benefit from it, such as receiving preference for public employment.


The Court observed that conversion from one religion to another religion will not change the caste of a person to which he belongs. The court then cited the 2003 judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in M.A. Salam v. Principal Secretary to the Government of Andhra Pradesh to support its claim that inter-caste marriage certificates are intended to lessen the social stigma that a child experiences, which is very similar to the stigma that either of the parents may have experienced because one of them came from a lower caste. If a converted person applied for an intercaste marriage certificate, it would be possible for the citizen to take advantage of the benefit provided by the inter-caste marriage quota and thus would defeat the objective. 

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

The petitioner and his wife by birth belonged to Scheduled caste and mere conversion would not entitle him to an inter-caste marriage certificate. Thus the court dismissed the writ petition contending that they are not entitled for the inter-caste marriage certificate for the purpose of availing the benefits under various schemes. 

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