A village headman in a district in Tamil Nadu was stripped of his Dalit status for posing as a Hindu while his activities and home environment suggested a strong Christian leaning.
The Madras High Court Bench dismissed a writ petition filed by A Mutharasan eight years ago, and upheld an order passed by the Tirunelveli District Vigilance Committee in 2008. The committee had cancelled a community certificate issued to him in 1989, saying he belonged to the Hindu Adi Dravidar caste.
The petitioner was appointed as Maniyam (village headman) in 1999 under the quota for the Scheduled Castes through the Tirunelveli District Employment Exchange.
The court took into account some of the “valid” and “cogent” reasons put forward by the committee for striking down the certificate, which are:
Copies of the Bible found at home, his involvement in the activities of a local church, and the fact his parents, sister and wife practised Christianity.
The voters’ list issued in 2002 proclaimed him to be Ashok Kumar.
Mutharasan, who has signed as a witness in a marriage celebrated in the church, had no other document but his school Transfer Certificate to support his claim that he was a Hindu even though he married a Christian and his family converted to Christianity.
He was also in the Welcome Committee during the anniversary celebration of St Paul Lutheran Church.
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