Case Title: Rebeka Mathai vs State of Kerala
A single bench of justice Viju Abraham of Kerala High Court observed that if one of the parent belonging to the scheduled caste or scheduled tribe (SC/ST) then the child is entitled for the benefit of the said community considering the aspects that they have suffered disability socially, economically and educationally.
“Going by the decision in Indira v. State of Kerala [AIR 2006 KER 1], even if one of the parent belonging to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community, the child is entitled for the benefit of the said community, but the crucial aspect to be considered is as to whether the claimant has suffered disability socially, economically and educationally and the society has accepted the claimant to their original fold as one among them and is living in the same social tenet”.
The petition was files by a student seeking issuance of a community certificate that she belongs to the ‘Paniya’ caste and hence she is entitled for all the benefits which are under the Paniya caste.
The petitioner submits that her father belongs to the Orthodox Syrian Christian Community while her mother belongs from the Hindu Paniya Community which is recognized as Scheduled Tribe Community as per the second scheduled of the constitution of India.
The petitioner’s parents had an inter-caste love marriage after which her paternal relatives stopped all interactions with her parents.
The advocate for the petitioner submitted that since petitioner was born and brought up in the paniya community, the head of the colony had certified that she belongs to the paniya community.
It is further submitted that the petitioner was raised according to the tribal traditions and she has been receiving various financial assistance and benefits mentioned by the government authorities for the Scheduled Tribes.
It is alleged by the petitioner that the Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development Studies submitted report against her without hearing her. After which petitioner approached the Hon’ble court wherein the court directed the institute to reconsider the matter after affording the opportunity of being heard to the petitioner.
However, the institute submitted a report holding that the petitioner does not belong to the Scheduled Tribe Paniya community and that she belongs to the Orthodox Syrian Christian community as her father belongs to, after which petitioner approached the hon’ble court challenging the report of the institute contending that the caste disability does not vanish even if someone marries a person belonging to a higher caste.
However, the High court opined that the society has accepted her to their original fold as one among them, and she is living in the same social tenet, she can be considered as belonging to the Paniya community.