No access to quota benefits after conversion: Court

via IANS published on March 13, 2011

The Gujarat High Court has rejected a plea filed by a converted Christian seeking access to benefits extended to him earlier as a Scheduled Caste Hindu.

While a state government panel held that he had converted, the petitioner denied doing so and challenged the cancellation of a Scheduled Castes certificate issued to him.

The bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice J.B. Pardiwala refused relief to petitioner Nimesh Zaveri and said he and his family members could not enjoy the benefits after conversion.

Zaveri had obtained a Scheduled Castes certificate from the state authorities. After a complaint that he had converted to Christianity, a scrutiny committee issued show cause notice to him seeking his reply.

In his reply, he denied converting to Christianity and claimed he continued to be a Scheduled Caste Hindu.

The committee, after considering all the aspects, directed the cancellation of the caste certificate given to Zaveri and his family. It held that he and his family had converted.

A single judge bench upheld the order of the committee against which Zaveri preferred an appeal before the division bench.

The division bench noted, in an order made available Monday, that the committee relied on an affidavit of Zaveri before an executive magistrate July 5, 1990.

“The affidavit stated that he had converted to Christianity by baptism on July 14, 1987 and he had declared that he and his children will not be known as ‘Hindu Vankar’ (caste) but as ‘Indian Christian’.”

The scrutiny committee found that Priest Samuelbhai Ukabhai Parmar had issued a certificate registering the petitioner in the Methodist Church June 18, 2002 on the basis of baptism conducted July 14, 1987.

In the marriage invitation card of Zaveri’s sons, they were described as Christians.

The judges said these findings and the refusal of grant of relief by the single judge did not call for their interference and dismissed the appeal.

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