A Telangana couple, who is fighting legal battle for 'no religion, no caste' columns in application forms to secure birth certificate and other documents, believes such an option could help bring a change in the present environment.
The couple hopes that it will change the thinking of people. "Today you find so much hatred, discrimination and killings in the name of religion and caste. We can bring a change by choosing no religion, no caste," David Ajjapagu told IANS on Wednesday.
David, a research fellow at Osmania University and his wife Sandepagu Swaroopa, a journalist, approached the Telangana High Court after municipal authorities did not accept their request to include 'no-caste no-religion' column in birth certificate for their son.
The High Court on Tuesday directed the Central and state governments to file their responses to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking introduction of 'no religion, no caste' columns in application forms to secure birth certificates and other documents.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan directed the Registrar General and Census Commissioner and Municipal Administration department of Telangana to file counter-affidavits in four weeks.
Hailing from Wanaparthy district of Telangana, the couple belong to different religions and castes but decided to do away with any such beliefs. They entered the wedlock in 2011 through a joint public announcement to live together.
Their son was born on March 23, 2019 and they named him as S. D. Ivan Rudey, after a renowned novelist. However, when they approached the Kothakota municipality office to apply for his birth certificate, they were asked to fill in the religion and caste column.
"We found no provision for a no-religion non-caste column in the application form. We approached the District Collector and higher-ups but our demand was not accepted. Hence, we decided to knock the court's door," said David.
He expects a positive judgment from the court and hopes that it would give relief to all those people who don't want to be identified with any religion or caste.
"In the past some individuals moved the court and got relief but it was only specific to their cases or for admission to an institution. We have requested that all the online and manual application forms for birth certificates and other documents should carry the column no religion, no caste," he said.
David feels that there is a strong case for introducing such a column as more than 20 lakh people in the previous Census registered themselves as those who do not belong to any religion or caste.
"There are many people who want such a column in their birth certificates and there is no reason why it can't be provided in a secular country like ours," he said.