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Father decides caste: SC

New Delhi, Jan. 28 (PTI): The Supreme Court today ruled that a child born of an illegitimate relationship between a high-caste man and a scheduled caste/ scheduled tribe woman would be categorised as belonging to the higher caste.

A bench headed by Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti passed the order while upholding an Andhra Pradesh High Court judgment setting aside the 1999 election of Telugu Desam candidate Sobha Hymvathi Devi from Sringavarapukota constituency reserved for scheduled tribes.

Sobha's election was challenged by her rival, Gangadhara Swamy, on the ground that she did not belong to the Bagatha community, which has been notified as a scheduled tribe.

Swamy's advocate contended that as the man with whom Sobha's mother Simhachalem ' a Bagatha ' had an illicit relationship was from a forward caste, she would acquire the caste of the man, Murari Rao.

Although Sobha agreed that she was born of an illicit relationship, her counsel gave details of her lineage to claim she was a Bagatha. She was also married to a person from the same community.

Challenging the high court order in the apex court, Sobha said she should be classified a Bagatha as her mother did not marry Rao. Sobha even cited a certificate given by the district collector, who, after a thorough inquiry, had concluded that she was a Bagatha.

She contended that the high court, taking an erroneous view on 'mere presumptions and surmises', held she was not a Bagatha and set aside her election.

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