Caste of a woman born into scheduled caste or scheduled tribe does not change by virtue of marriage with a person belonging to a higher caste, ruled a full bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday.
“A person born as a member of scheduled caste or scheduled tribe has to suffer from disadvantages, disabilities and indignities only by virtue of belonging to the particular caste, which he or she acquires involuntarily on birth,” observed the bench comprising Justice B.H. Marlapalle, Justice A.S. Oak and Justice R.Y. Ganoo.
“The suffering of such a person is not wiped out by marrying a person belonging to a higher caste,” the bench added while deciding a reference forwarded by Justice D.B. Bhosale.
Justice Bhosale had refused to agree with view of Justice V.M. Kanade while hearing a bail application filed by one Rajendra Shrivastava. The latter had granted bail to Shrivastava’s sister and co-accused in a complaint filed by his wife.
His wife, who belonged to a scheduled tribe, had alleged that she was abused by her husband and his relatives, of Kayastha caste.
Acting on her complaint, the police had booked Shrivastava, his sister and brother under various provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, and the Protection of Civil Rights Act.
Justice Kanade had granted bail to the sister saying the complaint wasn’t maintainable since after marriage the complainant’s caste had merged with the caste of her husband.
“The label attached to a person born into a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe continues notwithstanding the marriage,” they added.