Caste Determined by Birth, Can’t be Changed After Marriage: Supreme Court

India.com News Desk
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New Delhi, Jan 20: The Supreme Court has said that a person’s caste is unalterable and can not change after even marriage. The order came on Thursday while setting aside the appointment of a woman as a teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya at Punjab’s Pathankot.

In 1991, the district magistrate of Bulandshahr issued a caste certificate to a woman and certified her as of Scheduled Caste. In 1993 she was appointed as a Post Graduate Teacher at Pathankot’s Kendriya Vidyalaya based on her academic qualifications and the caste certificate.

But two decades after her appointment, a complaint was filed against her seeking cancellation of her appointment. The complainant had alleged that the woman had illegally taken the benefit of reservation without belonging to Scheduled Caste category.

In 2015, authorities cancelled her caste certificate after conducting an inquiry and Kendriya Vidalaya too removed her from job. Challenging KV’s decision, she approached the Allahabad HC which dismissed her plea, and upheld her termination. She then approached the apex court for relief.

The top court however modified the HC’s order and said the order of termination from service shall be treated as the order of compulsory retirement, considering her impeccable service of over two decades.

However, it noted that the woman who has become vice-principal after serving in the school for 21 years was born in an upper caste family and was not entitled to the benefits of reservation despite marrying into a Scheduled Caste family.

“The woman, who has now become vice-principal after serving two decades in the school, was not entitled to the benefits of reservation as she was born in an upper caste family and her caste remained so despite marrying into a Scheduled Caste family,” Times of India quoted bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar as saying.

“While exercising leniency, we have also kept in mind that she has neither played fraud nor misrepresented before authorities for getting the caste certificate. No questions were raised against her till the complaint  came to be lodged, even when the authorities had seen the high school certificate, marksheet etc. showing her caste as Agarwal,” the bench added.