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'Surname not always indicative of caste'

A person's surname is not always a deciding factor in determination of his/her caste, Bombay High Court has held.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2008 18:05 IST

A person's surname is not always a deciding factor in determination of his/her caste, Bombay High Court has held.

Interestingly, in the present case, Caste Scrutiny Committee had refuted petitioner Deepika Nandnawar's claim that she was a `Halbi' (a scheduled tribe), because similar claim of other 29 persons, all of whom shared her surname, had been disproved earlier.

But division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Roshan Dalvi overturned this reasoning recently. When it was not proved that these `other Nandanwars' were not blood relatives of the girl, their caste has no relevance in determining her caste, court said.

Nandanwar, currently an MBBS student of G S Seth Medical College, was given the certificate of being a `Halbi' while she was in school.

In November 2005, prior to her Class XII exam, she filed an application with Scheduled Tribes Certificate Scrutiny Committee, to get her certificate validated.

The committee initiated first inquiry into her claim in February 2006. Inquiry was conducted by senior inspector Mahesh Joshi, who reported that her claim was genuine.

But the committee ordered another inquiry, which was conducted by senior inspector Annasaheb Bandgar. His report said that in Amaravati there were 29 persons, all with the surname Nandanwar, whose claims of belonging to `Halbi' tribe had been dismissed by Amravati scrutiny committee.