Madras: A person who has converted to a different religion may no longer be a member of the caste or community to which he once belonged, and as a result, cannot request caste-based reservation after conversion, the Madras High Court has observed.
In U Akbar Ali v. State of Tamil Nadu and others, Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madras High Court was hearing the case of a candidate who was denied reservation under the Backward Classes (Muslim) category by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission and Instead treated as a general category applicant.
According to Justice Swaminathan, the Supreme Court is currently considering whether a person can retain his caste after converting to another religion.
Consequently, the High Court declined to stay or reverse the action of the State Commission as it could not uphold the claim of the petitioner.
The petitioner, a Hindu belonging to the Most Backward Classes, filed the petition. 2008 saw his conversion to Islam. He obtained a community certificate from the zonal deputy tehsildar, identifying him as a member of the Labais Muslim community (a backward community).
According to the High Court, the certificate of the circle sub-tehsildar violated the law as it did not have the legal status of an official letter, and the recruiting company should have disregarded such certificates.
The petition was rejected by the state government, which claimed that only 7 groups—including the Labbais—were classified as backward class members, not all Muslims. That the petitioner has been converted into a member of the "Labbais group" of Muslims is not stated in the certificate issued by a Qazi declaring his conversion to Islam. The petition only mentions the petitioner's conversion to Islam.