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Caste Status Of Married Woman Is Determined By Birth And Not By Marriage: Uttarakhand High Court

Jyoti Prakash Dutta
24 Jan 2023 5:15 AM GMT
Uttarakhand High Court, Chalta Hai Attitude, Dangerous, Rule Of Law, State, Biggest Hurdle, Expeditious Disposal, Bail Matters,
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The Uttarakhand High Court has clarified that caste status of a person is determined by birth and not by her marriage. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari further held that as long as there is no statute or rule that a married woman must obtain a fresh caste certificate upon her marriage, she cannot be denied the benefit of her caste as she was enjoying before the marriage.

“Caste status is acquired by birth and not by marriage. Thus, a girl, who does not belong to Other Backward Classes, will not get benefit of reservation available to Other Backward Classes merely by her marriage to a person belonging to O.B.C.”

The second respondent in the case invited applications for 40 posts of Dental Hygienist. The petitioner, being duly qualified, applied for a post reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC). She stood 14th in order of merit against 40 vacancies, but only 13 candidates were recommended for appointment. She was rejected on the ground that validity period of her OBC certificate had expired three days before publication of advertisement.

She filed a writ petition before the High Court, wherein the Court relied on the decision of the Apex Court in Ram Kumar Gijroya v. Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board & Anr. to allow the writ petition by holding that petitioner belongs to OBC and as she has been issued a fresh caste certificate subsequently, the Competent Authority shall re-consider her claim in the light of the fresh certificate.

Therefore, she served the aforesaid judgment and filed an affidavit before the second respondent. However, her claim was rejected again. Thus, being aggrieved, the petitioner approached the High Court.

The Court was informed that two issues were considered for determining petitioner’s eligibility, i.e.,

  • whether she belongs to Other Backward Classes;
  • whether she belongs to creamy layer or not.

It was observed that the High Court had previously returned a finding that petitioner belongs to OBC. Therefore, that question is settled and cannot be reopened. However, the question whether she comes within creamy layer was decided against her on the ground that her marriage was solemnized.

The Court was informed that she obtained the fresh OBC certificate by mentioning address and income of her father and not of her husband. Therefore, the opposite party placed reliance on Government Order dated 02.04.2013 for recording adverse finding against petitioner that she suppressed information regarding marriage in her application for issuance of fresh certificate.

The Court, however, held that reliance on the aforesaid Government Order is misplaced. It observed that the caste status of petitioner’s parents is not in dispute. There is no Statute or Government Order providing that a girl belonging to OBC category has to obtain certificate on the basis of income of her husband immediately after her marriage. Accordingly, the Bench remarked:

“Respondent no. 2 has rejected petitioner’s claim for appointment based on value judgment and not based on any provision of law. O.B.C. certificate issued in favour of petitioner by Competent Authority cannot be set at naught, merely because petitioner’s action does not confirm to second respondent’s notions of socially accepted norms.”

Thus, it underlined that in the absence of express provision in law providing that subsequent upon marriage, a woman has to obtain fresh OBC certificate based on income of her husband, the petitioner’s conduct cannot be said to be illegal so as to render her caste certificate invalid.

Resultantly, the Court set aside the impugned order of the opposite party and directed it to recommend the name of the petitioner for the said appointment.

Case Title: Smt. Poonam v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.

Case No.: Writ Petition (S/S) No. 1708 of 2022

Judgment Dated: 7th January 2023

Coram: Manoj Kumar Tiwari, J.

Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. Sanjay Bhatt, Advocate

Counsel for the Respondents: Mr. Narayan Dutt, Advocate for the State & Mr. Ramji Srivastav, Advocate for the 2nd Respondent

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

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