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Kerala High Court Allows Petition in Determining Petitioner’s Supreme Court Status To Avail Benefits

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The Kerala High Court involving a single bench judge of the Honourable Mr. Justice N. Nagaresh heard the case of Anjana. C V. State of Kerala.

Facts of the case

The Petitioner’s father had purchased property in Wayanad District utilising the funds made available to members of the Scheduled Caste. For the sale deed, stamp duty was exempted since the Petitioner’s father belonged to the Scheduled Caste.

The Petitioner had been continuously enjoying the benefits available to the members of the Scheduled Castes since her birth. In 2018, the applicant had applied for the Medical Entrance Exam. The screening committee doubted the accuracy of the community certificate issued by the tehsildar and referred the issue to the vigilance cell of the screening committee. 

The Screening Committee as per Section 6 of the Kerala (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Regulation of Issue of Community Certificates Act, 1996 accepted the report of KIRTADS and rejected the Scheduled Caste’s claim of the Petitioner. Invoking Section 6(2) of the Act, 1996, the Screening Committee rejected the application of the Petitioner for admission to Professional Degree Courses, 2018.

The Petitioner challenged the order. The said writ petition was disposed of directing the 2nd Respondent to consider the Revision Petition filed by the Petitioner. 

The Screening Committee again rejected the Scheduled Caste claim of the Petitioner and application for admission to Professional Degree Course, 2019 was rejected. The Petitioner filed Writ Petition challenging the report of the Screening Committee. The said writ petition was disposed off as per judgment dated 07.08.2019, wherein this Court granted liberty to the Petitioner to approach the Scrutiny Committee.

The Scrutiny Committee was directed to examine the grievance of the petitioner. This Court further directed that copies of all reports/documents relied upon by the Scrutiny Committee to be made available to the Petitioner.

The 2nd Respondent-Scrutiny Committee again rejected the claim of the Petitioner as per an Order dated 15.07.2019. A consequential Order was also passed on 16.07.2019, rejecting Petitioner’s Scheduled Caste status. These Orders are under challenge in Writ Petition. Based on the judgment, the 2nd Respondent-Scrutiny Committee heard the Petitioner on 03.09.2019. 

The Respondents resisted the writ petition filing counter affidavit. The Respondents submitted that according to the Anthropological Report submitted by the Vigilance Cell, KIRTADS, the Petitioner was an offspring of an inter-caste married couple. Her father originally was a native of Idukki District, belonged to Puthirai Vannan community of Tamil Nadu and her mother, a resident of Wayanad District, belonged to Nair community in Kerala.

On 05.04.2019, the Scrutiny Committee heard the Petitioner and considering all the documents, it found no reason to disagree with the report of the expert agency and hence rejected the Scheduled Caste (Puthirai Vannan) claim of the Petitioner.

Respondent’s Arguments

The Respondents stated that Petitioner’s paternal family belonged to Tirunelveli of Tamil Nadu and came to Kerala after 1950. The paternal grandparents of the Petitioner are now staying in Moongalar Estate, Periyar Village, Idukki District. The Petitioner’s father was transferred to Anchoor Estate in Wayanad on 01.09.1995 and later to Choondale Estate in the year 1997.

In the year 1999, he married a Nair woman. The genealogical and documentary evidence as well as District Field Level Enquiry revealed that the claimant and her family were living in Cholayil House Choondale, Wayanad and her socialisation process was in Wayanad District.

The Respondents also urged that the Petitioner was living in the milieu and circumstances of Nair community. The social stigma and disabilities of the Puthirai Vannan community had never been inflicted in the social setting they are in. The Petitioner was away from paternal culture and rites. The Revenue Authorities issued community certificates without going into the merits of the case and without conducting a proper enquiry.

In the circumstances, the Petitioner couldn’t legally claim the status of member of a Scheduled Caste community. Therefore, the Respondents urged for dismissal of the writ petitions. 

Court’s Observation

The Court analysed the extract of the admission register and observed that the Petitioner’s father was admitted in the School and that he belonged to Hindu Puthirai Vannan community with Scheduled Caste status. Therefore, it was clear that the Petitioner’s father was treated as belonging to Scheduled Caste Puthirai Vannan community more than 45 years ago.

Still that may not be sufficient to show that the Petitioner’s father actually belonged to Scheduled Castes. Because unless the Petitioner’s forefathers migrated to Kerala prior to 1950, the Petitioner couldn’t claim that she belonged to the Scheduled Castes community of Puthirai Vannan in Kerala.

The Court further observed that the District Field Level Enquiry Team did not take any effort to obtain definitive information relating to the year of migration of the Petitioner’s forefathers to Moongalar Estate.

Court’s Decision

The Court ruled that orders impugned in the writ petitions were liable to be set aside and the Petitioner would be entitled to all consequential benefits.

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