When persons belonging to different castes marry, what happens to their caste status? What will be the caste status of their children? Whether a woman belonging to a forward community and marrying a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/OBC citizen becomes entitled to claim reservation under the SC/ST/OBC quota? The issue "If a woman who by birth belongs to a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe marries to a man belonging to a forward caste, whether on marriage she ceases to belong to the scheduled caste or the scheduled tribe?" came up for consideration before the Full Bench of the Bombay High Court in Rajendra Shrivastava vs. State of Maharashtra, (2010) 112 Bom LR 762 and the Full Bench held as follows:-
"When a woman born in a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe marries to a person belonging to a forward caste, her caste by birth does not change by virtue of the marriage. A person born as a member of a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe has to suffer from disadvantages, disabilities and indignities only by virtue of belonging to the particular caste which he or she acquires involuntarily on birth. The suffering of such a person by virtue of caste is not wiped out by a marriage with the person belonging to a forward caste. The label attached to a person born into a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe continues notwithstanding the marriage. No material has been placed before us by the applicant so as to point out that the caste of a person can be changed either by custom, usage, religious sanction or provision of law."
The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika Vs State of Gujarat & Others ( CIVIL APPEAL NO. 654 OF 2012- Decided on January 18, 2012) was pleased to endorse the above view of the Full Bench Judgment of the Bombay High Court. The Supreme Court was also pleased to observe that the view expressed earlier by the Supreme Court in Valsamma judgment that in an inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the woman must in all cases take her caste from the husband, as a rule of Constitutional Law is a proposition, the correctness of which is not free from doubt." However, the question is: Whether a woman marrying a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/OBC citizen becomes entitled to claim reservation under the SC/ST/OBC quota? The answer is: No. The Supreme Court of India has held that a candidate who had the advantageous start in life being borne in a forward community and had march of advantageous life but is transplanted in backward class by adoption, marriage or conversion does not become eligible to the benefits of reservation. What will be the caste of the children? The question of the status of a child born to a scheduled tribe mother from a forward caste father came up for consideration before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika Vs State of Gujarat & Others ( CIVIL APPEAL NO. 654 OF 2012- Decided on January 18, 2012) and the Supreme Court held as follows:-
"In an inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal there may be a presumption that the child has the caste of the father. This presumption may be stronger in the case where in the inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the husband belongs to a forward caste. But by no means the presumption is conclusive or irrebuttable and it is open to the child of such marriage to lead evidence to show that he/she was brought up by the mother who belonged to the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe. By virtue of being the son of a forward caste father he did not have any advantageous start in life but on the contrary suffered the deprivations, indignities, humilities and handicaps like any other member of the community to which his/her mother belonged. Additionally, that he was always treated a member of the community to which her mother belonged not only by that community but by people outside the community as well. In the case in hand the tribal certificate has been taken away from the appellant without adverting to any evidences and on the sole ground that he was the son of a Kshatriya father. The orders passed by the High Court and the Scrutiny Committee, therefore, cannot be sustained. The orders passed by the High Court and the Scrutiny Committee are, accordingly, set aside and the case is remitted to the Scrutiny Committee to take a fresh decision on the basis of the evidences that might be led by the two sides. " The above mentioned decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India provide the answers to the questions mentioned above.
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