Off-springs of inter-caste marriages cannot be denied the benefits of reservation on the mere ground that one of the parents belonged to upper caste, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai passed the ruling upholding an appeal filed by Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika challenging a Gujarat Government’s decision to strip him of reservation benefits under ST quota as his father belonged to the upper caste Kshatriya community.
“In an inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the determination of the caste of the offspring is essentially a question of fact to be decided on the basis of the facts adduced in each case.”
“The determination of caste of a person born of an inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal cannot be determined in complete disregard of attending facts of the case,” Justice Alam writing the judgement said.
The court said ‘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,” the court said.