New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted time to the city government to clarify its stand on a plea for issuing OBC certificate to the child of a single mother, saying refusing to do so is prima facie "patently arbitrary and discriminatory" when single mothers belonging to SC and ST communities are entitled to it.
The court noted while the Delhi government “principally” felt that single mothers belonging to other backward classes (OBCs) can apply for and obtain appropriate caste certificates for their children, it was yet to take a final decision in view of a central government circular which extended this option only to single mothers from scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs).
“Prima facie, in the considered opinion of this court, the denial of such a benefit to single mothers belonging to other backward classes would fairly be patently arbitrary and discriminatory,” said Justice Yashwant Varma.
The court added the Delhi government “accepted and recognised” its authority to frame its own independent list related to OBCs in terms of the provisions of the Constitution of India.
Delhi government counsel Avishkar Singhvi prayed for one last opportunity to obtain further clarification on the issue. He said the Delhi government has sought clarity from the Centre while also considering it at their end.
The court, during the proceedings, took note of a submission that as per the law, issuance of caste certificate to a child was generally based on his paternity and questioned its relevance, saying reflected the ancient concept of patriarchy.
“This argument, which itself is based on our ancient concept of patriarchy in the society, how will it hold good today,” the court remarked.
It also questioned why the Delhi government was dependent on the Centre's decision in this respect when it has the power to recognise OBCs.
“I fail to understand why is GNCTD feeling inhibited ..If you have independent power to recognise any particular class as OBC, the issue of a certificate to a child is such an OBC will also have to be considered by you,” the court said.
“Why do you need clarification from the union government? Assuming it (the Centre's circular) stops short and refers only to SC, ST, why should we deny that benefit to OBC? It would be patently arbitrary,” it added.
The petitioner had moved the high court earlier this year, claiming the refusal of the authorities to grant an OBC certificate to children of single parents was wholly arbitrary.
The matter will be heard next on December 13. PTI ADS SK SK