Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Indian Court Says Religious Conversion Does Not Change Person's Caste

In Raj v. The Tahsildar, (Madras High Ct., Nov. 17, 2021), the High Court in the Indian city of Madras (Chennai) held that "conversion from one religion to another religion will not change the caste of a person which he belongs." The case involved a petition from a couple seeking an "inter-caste marriage certificate" in order to obtain the priority in public employment that is available to inter-caste couples.  The claim was based on petitioner's possession of a Backward Class certificate which he was issued when he converted to Christianity. However, according to the court:

by birth, the petitioner belongs to 'Adi-Dravidar' community and change of religion will not change the community.

Thus the court upheld the denial of the certificate. Normally this would still allow petitioner to claim the benefits reserved for Scheduled Classes. However, under a 1950 Presidential Order, members of Scheduled Classes that convert to Islam or Christianity are denied these benefits.