NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea of a woman IAF officer seeking issuance of a caste certificate for her children, who she claimed have never lived with her husband belonging to a forward caste.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru rejected the petition filed by the senior officer of the Indian Air Force, who claimed that her children be issued a certificate of their mother's caste since she belonged to the bania community, which is notified as a scheduled caste in the state of Assam.
The court said that the petitioner herself is a senior IAF officer and it is well accepted that persons from the Indian Armed Forces live in a secluded and protected environment (cantonment area) and there is little scope for any caste discrimination in such an environment.
The high court noted that issuance of caste certificate based on the father's caste was not without exceptions and that a surname was not the sole criteria for determining a person's case.
"There is no dispute that the surname adopted by a person would not by itself be determinative of his caste, if it is established that he had grown up in the community of one of the parents who belonged to a backward class," the judge said.
The court said that office orders would not come in the way of issuing certificates to children, who have suffered disadvantages and deprivations for belonging to the caste of their mother.
The judge also said it cannot be ignored that the woman's both children bear the surname of their father, thus, holding out a clear representation of belonging to a forward caste.
The woman officer separated from her husband in 2009 and her children, aged 17 and 15, have lived with her ever since.
She had applied with the Revenue Department of Delhi government for obtaining caste certificates for both of her children certifying that they belonged to scheduled caste.
However, her application was not processed.
The department rejected her application saying there was no material to substantiate the claim that her sons had grown up in the community of the relatives on their maternal side.
The court clarified that the onus of establishing that the children of the petitioner had suffered any of the disadvantages of belonging to a Scheduled Caste rested with her and dismissed the plea.