Kochi: Residents of Kerala who were born outside the state but are socially adapted to the norms and values here are entitled to a nativity certificate for claiming educational and other benefits available to natives of the state, Kerala High Court has said.
The high court said that place of birth of a person or that of his/her parents cannot be the sole criterion for grant of nativity certificate to someone born outside Kerala, as their "social belongingness" to the state also has to be seen.
Justice P B Suresh Kumar said social belongingness can be ascertained by considering whether the person concerned has socially adapted to the prevailing system of norms and values in the state.
"If a person is socially adapted to the prevailing system of norms and values in the state, I am of the view that he/she shall be considered as a person belonging to the state...Needless to say, they are entitled to nativity certificate for claiming educational and other benefits available to the natives of the state," Justice Kumar said.
The ruling by the high court came on a 24-year old woman's plea for issuance of a nativity certificate to pursue higher studies.
She had moved the court as her application for nativity certificate was rejected by the Village Officer on the ground that neither she nor her parents were born in Kerala.
Quashing the decision of the Village Officer, the court said, "Though the ancestors of the petitioner (woman) do not belong to the state and the petitioner is born outside the state, the materials indicate that she is a person who is socially adapted to the prevailing system of norms and values in the State of Kerala.
"Such persons, according to me, are to be treated as belonging to the State of Kerala. Needless to say, they are entitled to nativity certificate for claiming educational and other benefits available to the natives of the state.
The writ petition is allowed, the impugned communication (of the village officer) is set aside and the third respondent (village respondent) is directed to issue nativity certificate to the petitioner forthwith."
The court said if the nativity certificate is issued to ascertain whether the person belongs to the state of Kerala, then the place of birth of the person and the place of birth of his/ her parents cannot be the sole criterion to decide the eligibility.
If the place of birth is accepted as the sole criterion to decide eligibility, a person who is brought up in the state and whose ancestors belong to the state would not be entitled to a nativity certificate, if he and his parents happened to be born outside the state, it said.
"On the other hand, if the place of birth is accepted as the sole criterion to decide the eligibility, even a person who happened to be born in the state by the mere circumstances that his/ her parents happened to be in the state while giving birth to him/ her, would be entitled to nativity certificate, although his/ her ancestors may not be having any connection whatsoever with the state," the court added.
In the instant case, the woman's parents hailed from Thoothukudi in the sate of Tamil Nadu and settled here after their marriage and she was also born in Thoothukudi as her mother went to her maternal home for giving birth.
However, she was brought up in Kerala and did her entire schooling and graduation from here and thereafter, applied for a nativity certificate to pursue higher studies.