HC notices to Centre, State on ‘no religion, no caste’ status

Couple moves court, saying they do not want to attribute religion to their child in birth certificate

The Telangana High Court directed the Central and State governments to file counter-affidavits in a PIL petition seeking introduction of ‘no religion, no caste’ columns in all official application forms to secure documents like birth certificate.

A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy issued notices to the Registrar General and Census Commissioner along with Central and State governments on the matter. A journalist, David Ajjpagu, and his wife Sandepagu Swaroopa from Hyderabad filed the petition.

The couple, stating that they were married outside their religion and caste, told the court that they did not want to give their child, who was born on March 23, 2019, any specific religion or caste. When they tried to apply online for the child’s birth certificate, they found options of Hindu, Islam, Christian and a fourth, one saying ‘other religions’ under Religion column.

“There is no option for non-religious practitioners or identity.” the couple said in the petition. The applicants who don’t want to attach any religion to their children are forced to fill the religion column against their wishes, the couple stated. They approached authorities and represented to them that they did not want to attribute any specific religion to their child.

Written petitions were also presented to officials concerned, including Municipal Commissioner of Kothakota of Wanaparthy district. The couple requested the authorities to give their child a provision to mention the status of ‘no religion and no caste’ in the forms. The application being online and in the absence of such option, he could not apply online and did not secure birth certificate of his child till now.

The Municipal Commissioner suggested that the couple secure a specific Government Order from Municipal Administration department in the Secretariat on the matter. The couple gave representations to top officials concerned but they could not issue any specific direction on their request.

They sought a direction to the government to issue their child a birth certificate with ‘ no religion no caste’ status. The matter was posted after four weeks for hearing.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:18:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hc-notices-to-centre-state-on-no-religion-no-caste-status/article31456656.ece

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