The apex court upheld the election of Congress legislator Mohammad Sadique from Bhaduar Assembly constituency in Punjab. Considering his appeal challenging the verdict of Punjab and Haryana High Court to disqualify him from the assembly, the bench recorded that it was a settled law that person can change his religion and faith, but not the cast he belongs to.
The bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and PC Pant set aside Punjab and Haryana High Court’s April7, 2015 judgment that ordered Mohammad Sadique, being a Muslim cannot represent a reserved seat for Scheduled cast.
“Admittedly, the appellant (Sadique) was born to Muslim parents. However, he has proved that his family members though followed Islam but they belonged to “Doom” community (a scheduled caste community in Punjab). It is proved on record that the appellant was issued a caste certificate as he was found to be member of ‘Doom’ community by the competent authority, after he declared that he has embraced Sikhism, and he was accepted by the Sikh community,” the SC bench said.
The Supreme Court held that he had changed his religion into Sikhism on April 13, 2006 and had published a public notice in newspapers on January 4, 2007. The SC also noted that he had received a Scheduled Caste certificate from the concerned departments citing him as he belongs to the “Doom” community, which is under Scheduled Castes category.
‘It is not essential for anyone to change one’s name after embracing a different faith. However, such change in name of can be a corroborating fact regarding conversion or reconversion into a religion/faith in appropriate cases. Also, it is not necessary in law that entire family of a person should convert or reconvert to the religion to which he has gone”, the bench further explained.