The Kerala High Court stated that place of birth cannot be treated as the sole criterion to determine a person’s nativity. According to the Court, social belongingness should also be considered.
Background of the Case
The petitioner, Vincy Dinakaran, had filed an application with the Village Officer for the grant of a nativity certificate. The petitioner required a nativity certificate for pursuing higher studies. However, her application for issuance of the nativity certificate was rejected by the Village Officer on the ground that the birthplace of the petitioner and her parents was outside the State of Kerala. However, the petitioner was brought up in the State of Kerala. The petitioner’s father and mother hail from Thoothukudi in the State of Tamil Nadu and had settled at Choornikkara before the birth of the petitioner. However, due to certain traditions followed by the petitioner’s family, her mother was in Thoothukudi at the time of the petitioner’s birth. The petitioner had done her schooling in the State of Kerala and had obtained a B.Pharm degree from the Kerala University of Health Sciences.
After the application for a nativity certificate was rejected by the Village Officer, an appeal was filed by the petitioner before the Kerala High Court.
Arguments before the Court
The Counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that the petitioner was brought up in the State of Kerala and that she had done her schooling from Kerala; therefore, the petitioner could not be denied a nativity certificate merely on the ground that she was born outside the State of Kerala.
The Counsel appearing for the Government placed reliance on the Kerala Land Revenue Manual and contended that nativity certificate can be issued to persons who originate from the State of Kerala, that is who was born in the State. According to the Counsel the parents of the petitioners were not born in the State of Kerala, the nativity certificate could not be issued to the petitioner.
Observations of the Court
The High Court considered the provision pertaining to the nativity certificate and observed the certificate is intended to ascertain whether a person belongs to the State of Kerala. The Court stated that “the place of birth of the person and the place of birth of his/her parents cannot be the sole criterion to decide the eligibility.”
According to the Court, if the place of birth were to be considered as the sole criterion to decide the eligibility of person, then a person who was brought up in the State would not be eligible and a person born in the State by mere circumstances would be eligible to get the certificate, even though that person’s ancestors had no connection to the State.
The High Court held that “social belongingness is to be ascertained by considering the question whether he/she has been socially adapted to the prevailing system of norms and values in the State.”
The Court stated that the petitioner had produced sufficient documents to prove that she was brought up and educated in the State of Kerala and that the materials indicate that she has socially adapted to the prevailing system of norms and values in the State of Kerala.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the rejection of the nativity certificate and directed the Village Officer to issue the nativity certificate to the petitioner.