In a landmark judgment, the Kerala High Court has declared the election of A Raja, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate for the Devikulam Assembly constituency, void.
The court ruled that Raja, who had converted to Christianity, could not claim to be a Hindu Scheduled Caste, and was therefore ineligible to contest the election from a constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes.
Raja, a prominent politician, and former Telecom Minister had filed his nomination as a candidate of the CPI(M) for the Devikulam Assembly constituency in Kerala.
He had claimed to be a member of the Hindu Scheduled Caste community, despite having converted to Christianity several years ago.
However, the Kerala High Court, in response to a petition challenging Raja’s candidacy, ruled that he could not claim to be a member of the Hindu Scheduled Caste after his conversion to Christianity.
The court cited various precedents and legal provisions in support of its ruling, stating that the law does not allow a person to change their caste or claim to belong to a community that they have renounced.
The verdict has sent shockwaves through the political circles in Kerala and has raised questions about the eligibility of candidates who have converted to other religions.
Many political parties, including the CPI(M), have expressed disappointment with the court’s decision, while others have hailed it as a victory for social justice and the principles of caste-based reservations.
It remains to be seen how this ruling will impact future elections in Kerala and other parts of the country, and whether it will lead to greater scrutiny of the eligibility of candidates claiming to belong to reserved communities.
For now, the focus is on A Raja, whose political career has been dealt a severe blow by the Kerala High Court’s decision.