Children born of inter caste marriage of which either of the parents belongs to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe should have a caste status either that of the mother or that of the father.
The question of the status of a child born to a scheduled tribe mother from a forward caste father came up for consideration before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika Vs State of Gujarat & Others ( CIVIL APPEAL NO. 654 OF 2012- Decided on January 18, 2012) and the Supreme Court held as follows:-
"In an inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal there may be a presumption that the child has the caste of the father. This presumption may be stronger in the case where in the inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the husband belongs to a forward caste. But by no means the presumption is conclusive or irrebuttable and it is open to the child of such marriage to lead evidence to show that he/she was brought up by the mother who belonged to the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe. By virtue of being the son of a forward caste father he did not have any advantageous start in life but on the contrary suffered the deprivations, indignities, humilities and handicaps like any other member of the community to which his/her mother belonged. Additionally, that he was always treated a member of the community to which her mother belonged not only by that community but by people outside the community as well. In the case in hand the tribal certificate has been taken away from the appellant without adverting to any evidences and on the sole ground that he was the son of a Kshatriya father. The orders passed by the High Court and the Scrutiny Committee, therefore, cannot be sustained. The orders passed by the High Court and the Scrutiny Committee are, accordingly, set aside and the case is remitted to the Scrutiny Committee to take a fresh decision on the basis of the evidences that might be led by the two sides. "
Therefore in the enquiry which will be conducted before issuing the community certificate, the person who claims the status of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe of his/her father or mother has to establish that on his/her birth, he/she is subjected to the same social disabilities and also following the same customs and traditions and that the community has accepted that person to its fold.
The provision to inherit the caste from mother will go a long way in mitigating the hardships faced by a large number of children born of inter caste marriages. Suppose a neglected or deserted SC/ST woman, married to a non SC/ST man, brings up her child with the same handicaps, sufferings, disadvantages attached to that caste/tribe, it is too harsh to deny the benefit to that child on the sole reason that the child's father belongs to non scheduled caste/scheduled tribe.