The Supreme Court on 26 February 2015 held that a person can be accorded Scheduled Caste (SC) status on his re-conversion to Hinduism. The status can be accorded if the person is accepted by people of his caste and he proves that before converting either he or his forefathers previously belonged to SC caste.
The ruling was given by two-member Supreme Court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice V Gopala Gowda on a plea of KP Manu, a Kerala resident, who had challenged the Kerala High Court verdict.
Supreme Court bench held that three things need to be established by a person who claims to be a beneficiary of the caste certificate:
• There must be absolutely clear-cut proof that he belongs to the caste that has been recognised by the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950
• There has been reconversion to the original religion to which the parents and earlier generations had belonged
• There has to be evidence establishing the acceptance by the community.
Manu was born as a Christian as his grandfather had embraced the religion after leaving Hinduism. He became Hindu again at the age of 24 and was granted SC certificate of Hindu Pulaya caste to which his ancestors belonged.
However, later on a complaint, a scrutiny committee held that he cannot be treated as a Hindu on the ground that his forefathers were Christians and he himself had married a Christian woman. Kerala High Court also gave its ruling in favour of scrutiny committee and against the Petitioner.
On the basis of the report of the scrutiny committee, the Kerala government directed the employer of Manu to remove him from service and recover a sum of 15 lakh rupees towards the salary paid to him.
Who: Supreme Court
When: 26 February 2015