Posts Tagged ‘sheduled caste’

Dr B.R. Ambedkar International Conference 2017 – Quest for Equity  – Reclaiming Social Justice, Revisiting Ambedkar – Interpretation of case laws involving reservation to SCs under the Presidential Order 1950 – (4)

August 4, 2017

Dr B.R. Ambedkar International Conference 2017 – Quest for Equity  – Reclaiming Social Justice, Revisiting Ambedkar – Interpretation of case laws involving reservation to SCs under the Presidential Order 1950 – (4)

Prof Chandrama Kanagali

Tanweer Fazal presented a paper on “Caste and conversion Gharwapasi in the Indian Courts”: Tanweer Fazal[1] presented his paper in Room No.B1 on 23rd July [Sunday] morning session held between 9.30 to 11.00 am under the chair of Prof Chandrama Kanagali. The Co-speakers were Bhup Singh Gaur and Balakrishna Hegde. He started his presentation obviously with confusion of “SC” as he started his PPT, without specifically telling as to whether it was “Scheduled Caste” or “Supreme Court” and it was pointed out by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao[2], another speaker from the audience. He corrected himself and proceeded to mention the following cases:

  1. Michael vs Venkateswaran, 1951.
  2. Ganapat vs Returning Officer, 1974.
  3. Anbalagan vs B. Devarajan and Ors, 1983,

Without giving citation of the case laws and quoting from the judgments, he was arguing and interpreting that the courts have been following the “Gharvapasi” concept helping the Hindutwa forces for Christians converting back to Hindu religion to get SC-benefits back.  He could not explain properly about the case laws and the exigencies for the amendment of the Presidential Order in 1956 and 1990 include converted Skihs and Neo-Buddhists under SC category. He also referred to K. P. Manu case, but without giving the case law reference and relevant judgment details. He went on repeating the same point that the Court was acting at the behest of the government giving in such judgments helping the “Gharvapasi” programme. Of course, he was confusing this with Muslims also, as if they were also involved in such court cases.

Tanweer Fazal, JNU

Christians by converting back to Hindu religion can claim back SC status: Then, he pointed out as to how in the case of K. P. Manu, the Court held that he could be back to Ezhawa community, provided they accepted him their community-member[3]. The facts giving rise to the present appeal are that one Shri S. Sreekumar Menon invoked the jurisdiction of the Scrutiny Committee under Section 11(3) of the Act challenging the grant of caste certificate, namely, Hindu Pulaya to the appellant on the ground that the said certificate had been obtained by him on misrepresentation, and that apart the concerned authority had issued the caste certificate in total transgression of law. The Committee conducted an enquiry and eventually by its order dated 4th February, 2006 had returned a finding that the appellant was erroneously issued a caste certificate inasmuch as he was not of Hindu origin and hence, could not have been conferred the benefit of the caste status. It is not in dispute that the great grandfather of the appellant belonged to Hindu Pulaya Community. His son Chothi embraced Christianity and accepted a new name, that is, Varghese who married Mariam who originally belonged to Hindu Ezhava community and later on converted to Christianity. In the wedlock three sons, namely, Varghese, Yohannan and Paulose were born. The father of the appellant, Paulose, got married to Kunjamma who was a Christian. The appellant who was born on 03.01.1960 sometime in the year 1984 at the age of 24 converted himself to Hindu religion and changed his name to that of K.P. Manu. On the basis of the conversion he applied for a caste certificate to Akhila Bharata Ayyappa Seva Sangham. Be it stated, the appellant after conversion had obtained a certificate from the concerned community on 5th February, 1984. Eventually, the Tehsildar who was authorised to issue the caste certificate had issued the necessary caste certificate. The Court had dealt with the three important questions.

  • whether on conversion and at what stage a person born to Christian parents can, after reconversion to the Hindu religion, be eligible to claim the benefit of his original caste;
  • whether after his eligibility is accepted and his original community on a collective basis takes him within its fold, he still can be denied the benefit; and
  • that who should be the authority to opine that he has been following the traditions and customs of a particular caste or not.

Tanweer Fazal, Bhup Sigh, Balakrishna Hegde - The paper presenters

As the Pulaya Community accepted him as their member, he is Hindu only: The Court decided as follows – “In the instant case, the appellant got married to a Christian lady and that has been held against him. It has also been opined that he could not produce any evidence to show that he has been accepted by the community for leading the life of a Hindu. As far as the marriage and leading of Hindu life are concerned, we are of the convinced opinion that, in the instant case, it really cannot be allowed to make any difference. The community which is a recognised organisation by the State Government, has granted the certificate in categorical terms in favour of the appellant. It is the community which has the final say as far as acceptance is concerned, for it accepts the person, on reconversion, and takes him within its fold. Therefore, we are inclined to hold that the appellant after reconversion had come within the fold of the community and thereby became a member of the scheduled caste. Had the community expelled him the matter would have been different. The acceptance is in continuum. Ergo, the reasonings ascribed by the Scrutiny Committee which have been concurred with by the High Court are wholly unsustainable. Consequently, the appeal is allowed and the judgment and order of the High Court, findings of the Scrutiny Committee and the orders passed by the State Government and the second respondent are set aside. The appellant shall be reinstated in service forthwith with all the benefits relating to seniority and his caste, and shall also be paid backwages…..”

Tanweer Fazal, Bhup Sigh, Balakrishna Hegde - audience1

Why Tanweer Fazal was suppressing the “Soosai v. Union of India, AIR 1986 SC 733 judgment”?: During his presentation, there were many factual mistakes in interpreting the court cases. First, he was not mentioning the court case references, but, when K. V. Ramakrishna Rao insisted him to mention the case specifically in the context, he was evidently evading and started making general remarks. He coolly and purposely avoided mentioning “Soosai v. Union of India, AIR 1986 SC 733 judgment”, where, the Court held that SC under the Constitution (SC) Order, 1950 means only Hindu. This has been practice of many writers and researchers not to mention this judgment, as it is not favourable to them. He was obviously mumbled and fumbled without giving any answer. The Chair person also  pointed out and advised him to be specific. Incidentally, a similar paper is already published in EPW and available in the internet[4]. Now, let us discuss the case laws for understanding.

Tanweer Fazal, Bhup Sigh, Balakrishna Hegde - The paper presenters.close view

Michael vs Venkateswaran, 1951 – AIR 1952 Mad 474, (1952) 1 MLJ 239: The first case[5], where a SC was converted to Christian, thus losing his Hindu status, he was barred from contesting reserved constituency, is as follows: “The petitioner alleges that he is a member of the Paraiyan caste which is item 64 in Part V of the Schedule to the Scheduled Castes Order. Admittedly, he is a convert to Christianity. He therefore would be a person professing a religion different from Hinduism and therefore under paragraph 3 of the Scheduled Castes Order would be deemed not to be a member of a scheduled caste. He desires to stand as a candidate for a seat reserved for the Scheduled Castes and he can do so only If he is deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste. As the aforesaid provision prevents him from so standing, he has filed the above application for adequate relief from this Court.” But the Court held that “the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order is valid and within the powers of the President, the petition is therefore dismissed”.

Tanweer Fazal, Bhup Sigh, Balakrishna Hegde - audience

Ganpat vs Returning Officer & Ors on 4 December, 1974 – 1975 AIR 420: The second case[6] is about contesting for a seat in Nagpur by a SC candidate after converting to Buddhism, thus, losing their Hindu status. The Court held that, “We would, therefore, in agreement with the High Court hold that the respondents-2, 6 and 9 are not Buddhists but continue to be members of the Scheduled Castes”, but also pointing out, “The attempt of persons who have changed their religion from Hinduism to Buddhism, who still claim the concessions and facilities intended for Hindus only shows that otherwise these persons might get a vested interest in continuing to be members of the Scheduled Castes. In course of time vested interests are created in continuing to be members of Schduled Castes as in continuing to be members of Backward Classes. It is from the point of view of discouraging that tendency that the provision of the Scheduled Castes Order seems to be a proper one.”

Tanweer Fazal, Bhup Sigh, Balakrishna Hegde - with KVR

Anbalagan vs B. Devarajan & Ors on 5 December, 1983 – 1984 AIR 411: In the third case[7], one Devarajan was challenged that he was Christian and therefore, he could not claim SC status, but, it was proved that he “……………had long since reverted to Hinduism and to the Adi Dravida caste. There is not a scrap of acceptable evidence to show that he ever professed Christianity after he came of age. On the other hand, every bit of evidence in the case shows that from his childhood, he was always practising Hindism and was treated by everyone concerned as an Adi Dravidh. There is then the outstanding circumstance that the voters of the Rasipuram Parliamentary Constituency reserved for the Scheduled Castes accepted his candidature for the reserved seat and elected him to the Lok Sabha twice. We have no doubt whatsoever that at all relevant times, he was a Hindu Adi Dravida and professed no religion other than Hinduism. The case was rightly decided by the Election Tribunal and the appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.”

© Vedaprakash

04-08-2017

Balakrishna Hegde presenting his paper

[1] Dr. Tanweer Fazal is Associate Professor at the Nelson Mandela Centre, JMI, New Delhi, Email: fazaltanweer@yahoo.co.in, Phone: 91-9968822925 (M); http://www.jnu.ac.in/sss/csss/images/Tanwer-Fazal/CV Tanweer Fazal.pdf

[2] He has been independent researcher and presented a paper, “Nation” as approached by Jinna, Periyar and Ambedkar during their historical meeting held in 1940,  in another session.

[3] Supreme Court of India – K.P. Manu,Malabar Cements Ltd vs Chairman,Scrutiny Commt … on 26 February, 2015 arising out of CIVIL APPEAL No. 7065 OF 2008; https://indiankanoon.org/doc/98912765/

[4]https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Padmanabh_Samarendra/publication/302899845_Religion_Caste_and_Conversion_Membership_of_a_Scheduled_Caste_and_Judicial_Deliberations%27_Economic_and_Political_Weekly_li4_2016_pp_38-48/links/5732d20f08ae9f741b2362c4/Religion-Caste-and-Conversion-Membership-of-a-Scheduled-Caste-and-Judicial-Deliberations-Economic-and-Political-Weekly-li4-2016-pp-38-48.pdf?origin=publication_detail

[5] Madras High Court – G. Michael vs Mr. S. Venkateswaran, Additional … on 6 November, 1951

Equivalent citations: AIR 1952 Mad 474, (1952) 1 MLJ 239; https://indiankanoon.org/doc/496218/

[6] Supreme Court of India – Ganpat vs Returning Officer & Ors on 4 December, 1974; Equivalent citations: 1975 AIR 420, 1975 SCR (2) 923; https://indiankanoon.org/doc/83094/

[7]Supreme Court of India – S. Anbalagan vs B. Devarajan & Ors on 5 December, 1983; Equivalent citations: 1984 AIR 411, 1984 SCR (1) 973;   https://indiankanoon.org/doc/254650/