What started as a fight for Geeta Devi (30), to get the Scheduled Caste scholarship for her son last year, ended on Tuesday with her case becoming the first in the city where a child was given a caste certificate on the basis of a single mother’s documents.
Geeta, who lives in Central Delhi’s Bapa Nagar with her mother, sister and son, was informed by the school last year that she had to submit her son’s caste certificate for him to be eligible for scholarships available to children from the category. Thus began her struggle.
After visiting the sub-district magistrate (SDM) office, which issues caste certificates, she was told she would have to bring her husband’s caste certificate as proof for her son to get one.
“I had an SC certificate in my name. My son is 13 years old and his teachers said I needed to submit his caste certificate for him to be eligible for scholarships. I realised the certificate would also help him later in life and wanted to get it made immediately. When I went to the SDM office, I was told, ‘ya toh pita ke naam pe banega, ya ghar ke kissi aadmi ke naam pe’ (It will be made either in the name of the father or a male member of the house). This was impossible for me. I went to the SDM office four-five times,” added Gita, who lost her job in a thread picking unit in 2020 because of the pandemic.
After running around for a few more days, Geeta approached the area MLA, Vishesh Ravi.
According to the Delhi government, till last year, caste certificates were issued only based on the certificate of the father or some other paternal male relative.
After hearing of the case, Ravi wrote multiple letters to the officials in the Revenue Department and met those in the Social Welfare Department and Department for the Welfare of SC/ST of Delhi.
He had also raised this issue in the Delhi Legislative Assembly, highlighting the suffering of single SC/ST mothers, in 2020.
According to officials, a circular to amend the procedure for the issuance of SC/ST caste certificate based on a single mother’s caste certificate was issued in July 2020.
“I am finally satisfied that I could do this for my son. I am his parent and caregiver and I was able to give him what he is owed,” she said Tuesday after her son’s certificate was handed over to her.
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