In the Current Matter of Rebeka Mathai v. State of Kerala a Writ Petition disputing the denial of the claim and asking for a determination that the petitioner belongs to the Paniya caste and was thus qualified for the granting of community certification and other benefits.The petitioner, a B.Com. student at Thrissur College was born and reared in the Paniya community, which the Constitution’s Scheduled Tribes Order, 1950 recognised as a Scheduled Tribe. Her parents’ love union resulted in an intercaste union and prejudice against the family. According to the petitioner’s birth certificate and school entrance records, she was a Hindu Paniyan who converted to Christianity. She requested a caste certificate on June 30, 2015, but it was denied because of how far away her family lived from the Paniya group. After getting government funding to help the ST community, the petitioner’s mother built a home. Her membership in the Paniya community was also acknowledged by the certificate. The matter was contested, albeit KIRTADS’ report was against the petitioner. According to a different story, the petitioner belonged to the Orthodox Syrian Christian group rather than the ST Paniya community of Kerala. All community certifications previously given were revoked when a Scrutiny Committee rejected her allegation. The petitioner and her siblings were not qualified for any benefits provided to the ST community, according to a government ruling.
Analysis of Court order
Justice Viju Abraham of the Kerala High Court’s Single Judge Bench ordered the Kerala Institute for Research Training & Development Studies to reexamine the situation and submit a report after providing the petitioner with a chance to be heard and performing an appropriate investigation.
The Court looked at records attesting to the petitioner’s mother’s membership in the Paniya community, her claim to live in a Paniya Oorukootam structure and her birth certificate. The court determined that KIRTADS did not adequately take into account these arguments and that the high-ranking father has a greater impact on the socialisation process of inter-caste marriages. The government Scrutiny Committee approved the reports notwithstanding the petitioner’s concerns since the court found that they had been written without taking the particular situation into account.
The Court believed that the two KIRTADS reports were concluded without considering pertinent information or making adequate inquiries. As a result, the Court overturned the orders and reports that had rejected the petitioner’s claim to belong to the Pania community and ordered KIRTADS to reexamine the situation and produce a report after providing the petitioner with a chance to be heard and completing appropriate research. The Scrutiny Committee and State government were also ordered by the Court to make additional orders in accordance.
CASE NAME – Rebeka Mathai v. State of Kerala, Civil Writ Petition No. 2763 of 2019.