New Delhi Off- springs of inter- caste marriages cannot be denied the benefits of reservation on the mere ground that one of the parent belonged to upper caste, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakas
h Desai passed the ruling upholding an appeal filed by Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika challenging a Gujarat Governments 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 apex court said in an intercaste 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 apex court said.