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Saturday, November 16, 2013

ACT: Hindu Law-Hindu embracing another religion-whether retains original cast. On reconversion to Hinduism-Whether performance of any particular ceremony or expiatory rites necessary. Representation of the people Act.-Parliamentary election-Constituency reserved for scheduled castes-Whether a Hindu Adi Dravida (scheduled cast) on reconversion to Hinduism belongs to scheduled castes. HEADNOTE: The first respondent was elected to the Lok Sabha from a constituency which was reserved for the Scheduled Castes, The appellant challenged the election of the first respondent on the ground that he was not a member of the Scheduled Castes. The election Tribunal found that the first respondent belonged to the Scheduled Caste and upheld the election. Hence this appeal. The appellant urged that the parents and the sisters of the respondent were shown to be Christians and the respondent was born a Christian and there was no way he could acquire a caste and become an Adi Dravida on conversion to Hinduism. Dismissing the appeal. ^ HELD: At all relevant time, the first respondent was a Hindu Adi Dravida and professed no religion other than Hinduism. The precedents particularly those from South India, clearly establish that no particular ceremony is prescribed for reconversion to Hinduism of a person who had earlier embraced another religion. Unless the practice of the Caste makes it necessary no expiatory rites need be performed and, ordinarily, he regains this caste unless the community does not accept him. In fact, it may not be accurate to say that he regains his caste, it may be more accurate to say that he never lost his caste in the first instance when he embraced another religion. The practice of caste however irrational it may appear to our reason and however repugnant it may appear to our moral and social sense, is so deeprooted in the Indian people that its mark does not seem to disappear on conversion to a different religion. If it disappears, it disappears only to re 974 appear on reconversion. The mark of caste does not seem to really disappear even after some generations after conversion. [981A-C] Administrator-General of Madras v. Anandachari & Ors. ILR 9 MADRAS 466, Muthusami Mudalia & Anr. v. Masilamani & Ors. ILR 33 MADRAS 342, Gurusami Nadar v. Irulappa Konar, 67 MADRAS LAW JOURNAL 399, Ramayya v. Mrs. Josephine Elizabeth, AIR 1937 MAD 172, Goona Durgaprasad Rao v. Sudarsanaswami, ILR 1940 MAD 653, Rajgopal v. Armugon & Ors. [1969] I SCR 254, Rajgopal v. Armugam [1969] I SCR 254, Perumal Nadar v; Ponnuswami [1971] I SCR 49, Vermani v. Vermani AIR 1943 LAHORE 51 and Chatturbhuj Vithaldas Jasani v. Moreshwer Parashram & Ors.[1954] SCR 817, referred to.= PETITIONER: S. ANBALAGAN Vs. RESPONDENT: B. DEVARAJAN & ORS.= published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=9653


ACT:
     Hindu  Law-Hindu embracing  another  religion-whether
retains original  cast. On  reconversion to Hinduism-Whether
performance of any particular ceremony or  expiatory rites
necessary.
     Representation   of   the  people   Act.-Parliamentary
election-Constituency reserved for scheduled castes-Whether
a Hindu  Adi Dravida  (scheduled cast) on  reconversion  to
Hinduism belongs to scheduled castes.



HEADNOTE:
     The first respondent was elected to the Lok Sabha from
a constituency which was reserved for the Scheduled Castes,
The  appellant  challenged  the   election  of   the  first
respondent on  the ground  that he  was not  a member of the
Scheduled Castes. The election Tribunal found that the first
respondent belonged  to the  Scheduled Caste  and upheld the
election. Hence  this appeal.  The appellant  urged that the
parents and  the sisters  of the respondent were shown to be
Christians and the respondent was born a Christian and there
was no way he could acquire  a caste and  become  an  Adi
Dravida on conversion to Hinduism.
     Dismissing the appeal.
^
     HELD: At  all relevant time, the first respondent was a
Hindu Adi  Dravida and professed  no  religion  other than
Hinduism.
     The precedents  particularly those  from  South  India,
clearly establish  that no particular ceremony is prescribed
for reconversion  to Hinduism  of a  person who  had earlier
embraced another  religion. Unless the practice of the Caste
makes it necessary no expiatory rites need be performed and,
ordinarily, he regains this caste unless the community does
not accept  him. In fact, it may not be accurate to say that
he regains his caste, it may be more accurate to say that he
never lost  his caste in the first instance when he embraced
another religion.  The practice  of caste however irrational
it may appear to  our reason  and however  repugnant it may
appear to  our moral  and social  sense, is so deeprooted in
the Indian  people that  its mark does not seem to disappear
on conversion  to a different religion. If it disappears, it
disappears only to re
974
appear on  reconversion. The  mark of caste does not seem to
really disappear   even  after   some  generations   after
conversion. [981A-C]
     Administrator-General of  Madras v.  Anandachari & Ors.
ILR 9  MADRAS 466,  Muthusami Mudalia & Anr. v. Masilamani &
Ors. ILR 33 MADRAS 342, Gurusami Nadar v. Irulappa Konar, 67
MADRAS LAW JOURNAL 399, Ramayya v. Mrs. Josephine Elizabeth,
AIR 1937  MAD 172,  Goona Durgaprasad Rao v. Sudarsanaswami,
ILR 1940  MAD 653,  Rajgopal v.  Armugon & Ors. [1969] I SCR
254, Rajgopal  v. Armugam [1969] I SCR 254, Perumal Nadar v;
Ponnuswami [1971]  I SCR  49, Vermani  v. Vermani  AIR 1943
LAHORE 51  and Chatturbhuj  Vithaldas  Jasani  v.  Moreshwer
Parashram & Ors.[1954] SCR 817, referred to.









PETITIONER:
S. ANBALAGAN

Vs.

RESPONDENT:
B. DEVARAJAN & ORS.

DATE OF JUDGMENT05/12/1983

BENCH:
REDDY, O. CHINNAPPA (J)
BENCH:
REDDY, O. CHINNAPPA (J)
FAZALALI, SYED MURTAZA
VENKATARAMIAH, E.S. (J)

CITATION:
 1984 AIR  411  1984 SCR  (1) 973
 1984 SCC  (2) 112  1983 SCALE  (2)849
 CITATOR INFO :
 F    1984 SC 600 (19)
 R    1984 SC1260 (15)


ACT:
     Hindu  Law-Hindu embracing  another  religion-whether
retains original  cast. On  reconversion to Hinduism-Whether
performance of any particular ceremony or  expiatory rites
necessary.
     Representation   of   the people  Act.-Parliamentary
election-Constituency reserved for scheduled castes-Whether
a Hindu Adi Dravida  (scheduled cast) on  reconversion  to
Hinduism belongs to scheduled castes.



HEADNOTE:
     The first respondent was elected to the Lok Sabha from
a constituency which was reserved for the Scheduled Castes,
The  appellant challenged  the   election  of  the  first
respondent on  the ground  that he  was not  a member of the
Scheduled Castes. The election Tribunal found that the first
respondent belonged  to the  Scheduled Caste  and upheld the
election. Hence this appeal.  The appellant  urged that the
parents and  the sisters  of the respondent were shown to be
Christians and the respondent was born a Christian and there
was no way he could acquire  a caste and  become  an Adi
Dravida on conversion to Hinduism.
     Dismissing the appeal.
^
     HELD: At  all relevant time, the first respondent was a
Hindu Adi  Dravida and professed  no  religion other than
Hinduism.
     The precedents  particularly those from  South  India,
clearly establish  that no particular ceremony is prescribed
for reconversion  to Hinduism  of a  person who had earlier
embraced another  religion. Unless the practice of the Caste
makes it necessary no expiatory rites need be performed and,
ordinarily, he regains this caste unless the community does
not accept  him. In fact, it may not be accurate to say that
he regains his caste, it may be more accurate to say that he
never lost  his caste in the first instance when he embraced
another religion.  The practice of caste however irrational
it may appear to  our reason  and however  repugnant it may
appear to  our moral  and social  sense, is so deeprooted in
the Indian  people that its mark does not seem to disappear
on conversion  to a different religion. If it disappears, it
disappears only to re
974
appear on  reconversion. The  mark of caste does not seem to
really disappear   even  after  some generations   after
conversion. [981A-C]
     Administrator-General of  Madras v.  Anandachari & Ors.
ILR 9  MADRAS 466,  Muthusami Mudalia & Anr. v. Masilamani &
Ors. ILR 33 MADRAS 342, Gurusami Nadar v. Irulappa Konar, 67
MADRAS LAW JOURNAL 399, Ramayya v. Mrs. Josephine Elizabeth,
AIR 1937  MAD 172,  Goona Durgaprasad Rao v. Sudarsanaswami,
ILR 1940  MAD 653,  Rajgopal v. Armugon & Ors. [1969] I SCR
254, Rajgopal  v. Armugam [1969] I SCR 254, Perumal Nadar v;
Ponnuswami [1971]  I SCR  49, Vermani  v. Vermani  AIR 1943
LAHORE 51  and Chatturbhuj  Vithaldas  Jasani  v.  Moreshwer
Parashram & Ors.[1954] SCR 817, referred to.
     In the  instant case  the birth  extract of  the  first
respondent shows  his parents as Hindu Adi Dravidas. Through
out his educational career,  he  was  treated as  a  Hindu
student belonging  to the  Scheduled Castes  and was awarded
scholarships on that basis.  The school records relating to
his children  also show them as Hindu Adi Dravidas. He never
attended a  church. On the other  hand there  is acceptable
evidence to  show that he was offering  worship  to  Hindu
deities in Hindu temples and that his marriage was performed
according to  Hindu custom and rites. Even assuming that the
parents and  sisters of the  first  respondent had  become
Christians and that the  first respondent  himself had been
baptised  when he  was  seven months old,  there  is  no
difficulty in holding, on the evidence in the case, that the
first respondent  had long since reverted to Hinduism and to
the Adi Dravida Caste. There is  not a scrap of acceptable
evidence to  show that he ever professed Christianity after
he came of age, On the other hand, every bit of evidence in
the case  shows that  from  his childhood,  he was  always
practising Hinduism and was treated by everyone concerned as
an Adi Dravida. There is then the outstanding circumstance
that  the  voters  of  the  Constituency  reserved  for the
Scheduled Castes  accepted his candidature for the reserved
seat and elected him to the Lok Sabha twice. [891H; 892A-E]



JUDGMENT:
     CIVIL APPELLATE  JURISDICTION: Civil  Appeal No. 544 of
1981.
     From the  Judgment and  Order dated 23rd December, 1980
of the Madras High Court at Madras in Election Petition No.
1 of 1980.
     Dr. Y.S. Chitale, P.N. Ramalngam and A.T.M. Sampath for
the Appellant.
     M.C. Bhandare, K. Rajendra Chowdhary and K.S. Chowdhary
for the Respondents.
     A.V. Rangam for the Respondent No. 7.
975
     The Judgment  of the  Court was  delivered by CHINNAPPA
REDDY, J. 3, 26, 112 adult men and women voters of Rasipuram
Parliamentary Constituency reserved for the Scheduled Castes
accepted  the candidature  of the  first  Respondent,  B.
Devarajan for  the reserved  seat, apparently considered him
as a  member of the Scheduled Castes, voted  for  him and
elected him  to the  Lok Sabha, by a convincing majority of
nearly sixty  thousand votes at the election held in January
1980. And,  it was  not the  first time.  He was  in fact  a
sitting member of the Lok Sabha having been elected from the
same reserved  constituency at the previous general election
also, But  the verdict of the people was not sufficient for
the appellant, S. Anbalagan,  who secured 1,76,240 votes in
the January  1980 poll and lost the election. He wanted the
verdict of  an Election Tribunal on the question whether the
respondent  was a  Charistian and  not  a  member  of the
Scheduled Castes, as claimed by him. So he filed an election
petition  questioning  the  election  on  that ground. The
Election Tribunal  on  an  eleborate  consideration  of the
evidence held  that the appellant belonged to the Scheduled
Castes and,  on that finding, upheld the election. Anbalagan
has preferred this appeal.
     Dr.  Chitale,   learned  counsel for  the  appellant,
canvassed the  finding of  the Election Tribunal  that the
respondent was a Hindu Adi Dravida and, therefore, a member
of the Scheduled Castes. He argued that the parents and the
sisters of  the respondent  were shown to be Christians and
the respondent though obviously  a  Christian himself was
pretending to  be, a  member of the Scheduled Castes for the
purpose of gaining some advantages. He invited our attention
to the Baptismal certificate and certain other documents and
urged that the Respondent was born a Christian and there was
no way he could acquire a caste and become an Adi Dravida on
conversion to Hinduism.
     In order to properly appreciate the questions involved,
it is  necessary first to understand  the legal position in
regard to  caste status on conversion or  reconversion  to
Hinduism.
     In Administrator-General  of Madras  v.  Anandachari  &
Others(1), a  learned single  Judge of the Madras High Court
held that  the conversion of a Hindu Brahmin to Christianity
rendered him,  according to  Hindu Law, an  out  caste and
degraded. It was also observed that the degradation might be
atoned for  and the  convert readmitted to his status as a
Brahmin, if he at any time during his
976
life renounced Christianity  and  performed  the  rites  of
expiation enjoined by his caste.
     In Muthusami  Mudaliar & Anr. v. Masilamani & Others(1)
Shankaran Nair, J.  explained at  length  the process  of
formation of  castes and  also pointed out how simple the
matter of  reconversion to Hinduism was when a Hindu changed
his religion and later reverted back to Hinduism.
     In Gurusami  Nadar v. Irulappa Konar(2), Varadachariar,
J. explained  the observations made  in  certain  cases  by
Ananta Krishna Iyer, J.  about the  necessity of  expiatory
ceremonies for reconversion to Hinduism and pointed out that
in those  cases,  the  alleged reconversion  was  into the
Brahmin community  of Hindus  and it was possible to suggest
that certain  vedic rites  would have  been adopted  in such
cases. Expiatory  ceremonies, it  was further  pointed out,
would be necessary if such was the practice of the community
and not otherwise. One had, therefore, only to look to the
sense of  the community and no more. In  Ramayya  v. Mrs.
Josephine   Elizabeth(3)    Venkatasubba   Rao,   OCJ and
Venkataramana  Rao,   J.  approved   the   observations  of
Varadachariar, J.  and thought it unnecessary to pursue the
matter further. Mookett and  Krishnaswami Ayyangar,  JJ. in
Goona Durgaprasad  Rao v.  Sudarsanaswami(4) observed that a
convert from the  Baliji   caste  to  Christianity,  on
reconversion went back into the fold of the Baliji community
and where  there was  no evidence  about the  necessity for
expiatory ceremonies,  it was  hardly right for the court to
erect a barrier which the autonomy  of the  caste did not
require, simply because, in  some other community expiatory
ceremonies were thought necessary.
     In Rajagopal  v. Armugam  and others(5),  the appellant
was elected  from a constituency reserved for members of the
Schedule Castes and the  election  was questioned  on the
ground that  he was  not a Hindu but a Christian and that he
was not qualified be  elected from  a constituency reserved
for the Scheduled Castes. The
977
court found  that the  appellant had  become a Christian in
1949 and  that from  about 1967 onwards he certainly started
professing the Hindu religion. The court however, held that
the appellant  had lost his  Adi  Dravida  Hindu  caste  on
embracing Christianity and,  on  the  evidence before the
court, it  was not possible to hold that he had regained his
caste on  reconversion to  Cinduism.  The  general  question
whether membership   of  a   caste  could  be acquired  by
conversion or  reconversion to Hinduism was  not decided in
the case,
     Rajagopal, who  succeeded at the election held in 1967,
but whose election was set aside on the ground that he was a
Christian and  not a  member of the  Scheduled Castes and
Armugam who  lost the  election in  1967,  but successfully
challenged the election of  Rajagopal by way of an election
petition (vide Rajagopal v.  Armugam(1) referred  to in the
previous paragraph)  were again contestants at the election
held in 1972 from the same constituency reserved for members
of the Scheduled Castes,  Rajgopal was again Successful in
the election.  His  election  was  once more  impeached  by
Arumugam. But this time Rajgopal farred better. His election
was upheld  first by  the High Court and then by the Supreme
Court: (1976  (3) S.C.R. 82) The Supreme Court held that the
Question whether Rajagopal embraced Christianity in 1949 and
whether he was reconeverted to Hinduism was concluded by the
earlier dectsion of the court. The view of the High Court ie
the immediate  case before  them  that on  reconversion  to
Hinduism, he  could revert  to his  original caste if he was
accepted as  such by  the other members of  the  caste was
accepted as correct On the evidence, it was found that after
reconversion to Hinduism he was recognised and accepted as a
member of  the Adi  Dravida Hindu caste by the other members
of the community. The court consisting  of Chandrachud, J.
(as he then was), Bhagwati and Sarkaria, JJ. noticed that it
was not an infrequent phenomenon-in South India for a person
to continue  to be  regarded as belonging to  his  original
caste even after conversion to Christianity The decisions of
the High  Court of Andhra Pradesh in Kothapalli Narasayya v.
Jammana Jogi  and K.  Narasimha Reddy v.G.  Bhupatti were
noticed. It was then observed:
 "It cannot, therefore, be laid down as an absolute
978
     rule uniformly  applicable in all cases that whenever a
     member  of a  caste  is  converted  from Hinduism  to
     Christianity, he  loses his membership of the caste. It
     is true that  ordinarily   that on   conversion  to
     Christianity, he  would cease  to be  a member  of the
     caste, but that is  not an  invariable rule.  It would
     depend on the structure of the caste and its rules and
     regulations. There are castes,  particularly in  South
     India,  where   the  consequence  does  not  follow  on
     conversion since  such castes  comprise from Hindus and
     Christians".
The learned  Judges than  proceeded to consider the question
whether Rajagopal  could once  again become  a member of Adi
Dravida caste even if it was assume that he had ceased to be
such on conversion to Christianity. After referring to the
Madras cases already noticed by us earlier, it was held:
 "These cases show that  the consistent view taken
     in this  country from the time Administrator-General of
     Madras v. Anandachari was decided, that is, since 1886,
     has been that on reconversion to Hinduism, a person can
     once again become a member of the caste in which he has
     born and  to which he belonged  before  conversion  to
     another religion, if the members of  the caste accept
     him as a member. There is no reason either on principle
     or on  authority which  should compel  us to  disregard
     this view which has prevailed for almost a century and
     lay down  a different  rule on the subject. If a person
     who has embraced another religion can be reconverted to
     Hinduism, there  is no rational principle why he should
     not be  able to  come back to his caste, if the other
     members of the csste  are prepared to readmit him as a
     member. It stands to  reason that he should be able to
     come back to  the fold  to  which  he  once  belonged
     provided of course the community is willing to take him
     within the fold .."
 "....... A  Mahar or a Koli or a Mala would not be
     recognised as  anything but a Mahar or a Koli or a Mala
     after reconversion to Hinduism and he would suffer from
     the same social and economic disabilities from which he
     suffered before  he was  converted to another religion.
     It is,  therefore, obvious that the object and purpose
     of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes)
979
     order, 1950  would be  advanced rather than retarded by
     taking the view that  on reconversion  to Hinduism  a
     person can once again become a member of the Scheduled
     Caste to  which he belonged prior to his conversion. We
     accordingly agree with the view taken by the High Court
     that on  reconversion to  Hinduism, the  1st respondent
     could once again revert  to his  original Adi  Dravida
     caste if  he was  accepted as such by the other members
     of the cast."
     In Perumal Nader v.  Ponnuswami,(1) the question arose
whether Annapazham,  daughter of  an  Indian  Christian and
herself a Christian by birth. could be converted to Hinduism
without the  performance of  any expiatory  ceremonies ? The
court held that formal ceremony of purification or expiation
was unnecessary. It was observed:
 "A  person   may  be a  Hindu  by  birth  or  by
     conversion. A  mere theoretical allegiance to the Hindu
     faith by  a persion  born in  another  faith  does not
     convert him  into a  Hindu, nor  is a  bare declaration
     that he  is  a  Hindu  sufficient to  convert  him  to
     Hinduism, But  a bona fide intention to be converted to
     the Hindu faith, accompanied  by conduct unequivocally
     expressing that intention may be sufficient evidence of
     conversion.  No  formal  ceremony of  purification  or
     expiation is necessary to effectuate conversion."
     All the  cases so far considered are from South India.
To conclude  the discussion, we may also refer to Vermani v.
Vermani(2) and Ghatturbhuj Vithaldas  Jasani  v.  Moreshwer
Parashram  &   others(3)  both of  which  are cases from
elsewhere.
     In Virmani v. Virmani, a Full Bench of the Lahore High
Court following the decision of the Madras High Court in ILR
1940 MADRAS  653 held  that it was not necessary for a Hindu
convert to  Christianity to undergo any expiatory ceremonies
before he could revert to his original religion. His conduct
and the circumstance that
980
he  was  received  by his  community were  sufficient  to
establish his reversion to Hinduism.
     In Chatturbhnj's  case,  a question  arose  whether  a
member of  the Mahar  caste which  was one  of the Scheduled
Castes continued  to be a member of the Mahar caste despite
his conversion to the tenets Mahanubhava Panth, a sect, the
founder of   which  repudiated  the  caste  system  and  a
multiplicity  of   Gods.  Bose,  J.  after   noticing the
complexities brought in the train of conversion, observed:
 "Looked at  from the secular point of view, there
     are three factors which have to be considered: (1) the
     reactions of  the old  body, (2)  the intentions of the
     individual himself and (3) the rules of the new order.
     If the  old order is tolerant of the new faith and sees
     no reason to outcaste or ex-communicate the convert and
     the individual  himself desires  and intends  to retain
     his old  social and  political ties,  the conversion is
     only nominal  for all  practical purposes and when  we
     have to  consider the legsl and political rights of the
     old body  the views of the new faith hardly matter. The
     new body  is free to ostracise and outcaste the convert
     from its  fold if he does not adhere to its tenets, but
     it can  hardly claim  the right to interfere in matters
     which concern the political rights of the old body when
     neither the  old body nor the convert is seeking either
     legal or  political favours  from the new as opposed to
     purely spiritual  advantage. On  the other hand, if the
     convert has  shown by his conduct and dealings that his
     break from the old order is so complete and final that
     he no  longer regards  himself as a member  of the old
     body and  there is no reconversion and readmittance to
     the old  fold, it would be  wrong to  hold that he can
     nevertheless claim temporal privileges  and  political
     advantages which are special to the old order."
Bose, J. found that whatever the views of the founder of the
Mahanubhava sect night have been about caste, it was evident
that there  had been  no rigid adherance to  them among his
followers in later years. They had either changed their view
or they had not  been able  to keep  a tight enough control
over converts  who choose to retain their old caste customs.
On a consideration of the evidence it was
981
found that  the convert from the  Mahar caste retained his
caste even after conversion.
     These precedents, particularly those from South India,
clearly establish  that no particular ceremony is prescribed
for conversion to Hinduism  of a  person  who had  earlier
embraced another  religion. Unless the practice of the caste
makes it  necessary, expiatory rites need be performed and,
ordinarily, he regains his  caste unless the community does
not accept  him. In fact, it may not be accurate to say that
he regains his caste; it may be more accurate to say that he
never lost  his caste in the first instance when he embraced
another religion.  The practice of caste however irrational
it may appear to  our reason  and however  repugnant it may
appear to our moral and social science, is so deep-rooted in
the Indian  people that its mark does not seem to disappear
only conversion to a  different religion. If it disappears,
only to reappear on reconversion. The mark of caste does not
seem to really disappear  even after some generations after
conversion. In Andhra Pradesh and in Tamil Nadu, there are
several thousands  of Christian families whose forefathers
became Christians and who, though they profess the Christian
religion, nonetheless  observe the  practice of Caste. There
are Christian  Reddies, Christian  Kammas, Ceristian Nadars,
Christian Adi-Andhras, Christian Adi Dravidas and so on. The
practice of  their caste  is  so  rigorous  that  there are
intermarriages with  Hindus of the same  caste but not with
Christians of  another caste. Now,  if  such a  Christian
becomes a  Hindu, surely  he will  revert  to  his  original
caste, if  he had  lost it at all. In fact this process goes
on continuously in India  and generation by generation lost
sheep appear  to return to the casts-fold and are once again
assimilated in that fold. This appears to be particularly so
in the case of members of the Scheduled Castes, who embrace
other religions in their quest for liberation, but return to
their old  religion on finding that their disabilities have
clung to  them with great tenacity. We do not think that any
different principle  will apply to the case of conversion to
Hinduism  of  a person whose fore-fathers  had  abandoned
Hinduism and  embraced another religion from  the principle
applicable to  the case of reconversion  to Hinduism  of  a
person who  himself  had  abandoned  Hinduism  and  embraced
another religion.
     Now, what are the facts of the present case ? The birth
extract of  the first  respondent, Devarajan  shows that his
parents as  Hindu Adi  Dravidas. Through out his educational
career, he  was treated as a Hindu student belonging to the
Scheduled Castes and was
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awarded scholarships  on  that basis. The  school  records
relating to  his  children  also  show them  as  Hindu Adi
Dravidas. On  one occasion  in the  admission register of a
school, he  was wrongly shown as Adi Dravida Christian, but
it was corrected as  Adi Dravida as far back as in 1948. He
never attended a  church.  On the  other  hand,  there  is
acceptable evidence  to show that he was offering worship to
Hindu deities  in Hindu temples and  that his marriage was
performed according to Hindu custom and rites. Our attention
was however,  drawn to the finding of the Tribunal that the
sisters of  the first  respondent professed  Christianity as
revealed by  their  service  registers. Our  attention was
further invited to certain  evidence  indicating  that the
parents of  the first  respondent had  become Christians and
that the  first respondent himself had been baptised when he
was seven  months old. Even assuming  that the parents and
sisters of  the first  respondent had  become Christians and
that the  first respondent himself had been baptised when he
was seven  months old, we see no difficulty in holding, on
the evidence in the case, that the first respondent had long
since reverted to Hinduism  and to  the Adi  Dravida caste.
There is  not a scrap of acceptable evidence to show that he
ever professed Christianity after  he came  of age.  On the
other hand,  every bit of evidence  in the  case shows that
from his childhood, he was always practising Hindism and was
treated by  everyone concerned as an  Adi Dravidh. There is
then the  outstanding circumstance  that the  voters of the
Rasipuram  Parliamentary   Constituency reserved   for the
Scheduled Castes  accepted his candidature for the reserved
seat and  elected him  to the  Lok Sabha  twice. We  have no
doubt whatsoever  that at all relevant times, he was a Hindu
Adi Dravida  and professed  no religion other than Hinduism.
The case  was rightly  decided by  the Election Tribunal and
the appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.
H.S.K.   Appeal dismissed.
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