India: Scheduled caste certificates, including the issuing authority and whether it is national or regional; requirements and procedures for obtaining them; their content, appearance, and security features and whether these may vary and depending on what (region, age of applicant, time of issue) (2017–February 2022) [IND200869.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Overview

According to a country information report on India from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the government of India uses scheduled caste (SC) to refer to Dalits (the untouchables), scheduled tribe (ST) to refer to Adivasi and other indigenous people, and other backward classes (OBC) to refer to other "educationally or socially disadvantaged" castes that do not fit into the SC or ST categories (Australia 10 Dec. 2020, 7, 8, 45). According to website of the District Administration of Hoshiarpur, Punjab, caste certificates are proof that an individual belongs to a certain caste, particularly the SC, as specified in India's Constitution (Hoshiarpur n.d.). Sources note that "privileges" are granted to members of the SC, ST and OBC groups (Assam 5 Dec. 2021; Hoshiarpur n.d.), including "reservation of seats in the Legislatures and in the Government Service, waiving off a part or the whole of the fees for admission to schools and colleges, quotas in educational institutions, relaxation of upper age limits for applying to certain jobs, etc." (Hoshiarpur n.d.). The State of Assam website similarly notes that "special provisions," including scholarships and admission to educational institutions, government jobs appointed under reserved quotas, and certain government subsidies are available for members of the SC, ST, and OBC groups (Assam 5 Dec. 2021). Sources further note that in order to receive these privileges, individuals must have a valid caste certificate (Hoshiarpur n.d.; IndiaFilings n.d.a). According to IndiaFilings, a "cloud-based business service platform" aiming to assist entrepreneurs in establishing and developing their businesses and to help individuals navigate legal, tax, and regulatory systems in India (IndiaFilings n.d.b), if a government employee is found to have obtained their position using a false caste certificate, their employment shall be terminated (IndiaFilings n.d.a).

2. Issuing Authority for Caste Certificates

According to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment handles the "overall policy, planning and coordination" of development programs for certain groups, including SCs, "[s]ocially and [e]ducationally [b]ackward [c]lasses," [d]enotified [t]ribes" and "[e]conomically [b]ackward [c]lasses," but central ministries and state and union territory governments are responsible for "overall" program operations and monitoring (India 1961, 155). According to sources, caste certificates are issued by state governments (Scholar 18 Dec. 2021; IndiaFiling n.d.a). IndiaFilings notes that each state has specific procedures for the issuance of caste certificates (IndiaFilings n.d.a.). The same source states that caste certificates issued in "the prescribed format" by "the following authorities" are considered valid by the central government:

  • District magistrate, additional district magistrate, first class stipendiary magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate, taluka [taluk] [1] magistrate or executive magistrate;
  • Collector or deputy collector;
  • Deputy commissioner, additional deputy commissioner or extra assistant commissioner;
  • Chief presidency magistrate, additional chief presidency magistrate, or presidency magistrate;
  • Revenue officer ("not below" the rank of tehsildar [tahsildar] [2]);
  • Sub-divisional officer of the area where the applicant and/or their family resides (IndiaFilings n.d.a).

2.1 Castes Covered by the Presidential Order

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 provides a list of SCs in each state (India 1950). Paragraph 3 of the Order states that "[n]otwithstanding anything contained in paragraph 2, no person who professes a religion different from the Hindu[, the Sikh or the Buddhist] religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste," with the mention of Buddhism added by Act 15 of 1990 (India 1950, second set of brackets in original, footnotes omitted). An article by, an Indian news website, reports that initially the classification of SC was restricted to Hindus, but in 1956 the Order was amended to include Sikhs and in 1990 to include Buddhists ( 21 Aug. 2020). Sources indicate that according to the Order, converts to Islam and Christianity are excluded from the SC classification (US Feb. 2017, 9; 21 Aug. 2020). The Australia DFAT report notes that according to the Order, Dalit Christians are not recognized as SCs and cannot access the benefits and protections offered to Dalit Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists (Australia 10 Dec. 2020, 32).

3. Requirements and Procedures for Caste Certificates

IndiaFilings indicates that caste applications can be submitted online or to a local office of the revenue department or a sub-divisional magistrate (IndiaFilings n.d.a). The same source indicates that a local investigation is conducted for a first-time application from a particular family (IndiaFilings n.d.a). According to the same source, the following must be submitted along with the application:

  • Proof of residence
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of ration card
  • Copy of income certificate
  • Copy of voter ID [also know as elector's photo ID card (EPIC)] or electoral roll
  • Aadhaar card
  • Photograph (IndiaFilings n.d.a).

The chart below lists the documents required for an application for a caste certificate in twenty-eight states and four union territories. Information on caste certificates for the union territories of Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

State Type of Caste Certificate Requires Application Form? Requires Passport Photo? Requires Family Member's Caste Certificate? Additional Requirements Reference
Andaman and Nicobar Islands OBC certificate Either OBC or record of rights (ROR) for parents Mandatory:
  • Birth certificate
  • "Local" for applicant
  • Local for parents
  • Islander card for applicant
  • Islander card for parents
  • Ration card or "[f]amily [d]etails"
  • Affidavit
  • Pay certificate (government)
  • Income certificate (private)
(North and Middle Andaman n.d.; South Andaman n.d.; Nicobar n.d.)
Andhra Pradesh Certificate of eligibility for reservation of civil posts and services for OBC   No Mandatory:
  • Annual income (on application)
  • Employment particulars / income tax returns (for professionals) for applicant's father/mother

One of the following:
  • Ration card, Aadhar card or voter ID card number
  • Property "particulars" for applicant's father/mother
(Andhra Pradesh n.d.)
Arunachal Pradesh ST certificate No

Option to include attested copy of father's ST certificate
  • Verification document from gaon bura [gaonbura, gaon burah] (GB) [3] / head gaon bura (HGB) and admin officer
  • For urban residents, attested copy of land allotment passbook of father/guardian for current address
  • For rural residents, attested copy of land possession certificate of father/guardian for current address

  • Attested copy of birth certificate
  • Attested copy of applicant's permanent resident certificate
(Arunachal Pradesh n.d.)
Assam SC certificate No

Option to include parental caste certificate
  • Proof of residency, such as permanent resident certificate
  • Proof of caste status, such as parental caste certificate
  • Report of GB (rural areas) or ward commissioner (urban areas), unless the applicant's parents have an SC certificate
  • Recommendation from
    -president/secretary of the Anuhushit [Anusuchit] Jati Parishad [Scheduled Caste Council];
    -chair of the Scheduled Caste Development Board; or
    -president/secretary of the "[a]pex body of caste organizations authorized by the government"
(Assam 5 Dec. 2021)
Bihar Caste certificate (SC/ST/OBC) No Mandatory:
  • Ration card
  • Self-declaration of the applicant
  • Identity card
  • Aadhaar card
(IndiaFilings n.d.c)
Chandigarh OBC certificate   No

Option to include father's OBC/BC certificate issued by "prescribed authority" of father's state of origin. If no OBC certificate, father's caste shall be "verified" by two "Gazetted Officer[s]."
  • Proof of present residence
    -ration card
    -voter card
    -Aadhaar card
    For proof of residence prior to 13 August 1993, ration card or house allotment letter
  • Proof of family income, which "should not exceed" 600,000 Indian rupees (INR) [C$10,067] (income from all sources within and outside Chandigarh)
    -salary slips or certificates
    -income tax returns
  • School/birth certificate of child
(Central Chandigarh n.d.)
Chhattisgarh Caste certificate No Mandatory:
  • Caste report from a patwari [patvari] [4] / sarpanch [mukhiya] [an elected official of the village-level government]
  • Income report
  • Aadhaar card
  • Proof of residence
  • Caste/religion report
  • School leaving certificate/transfer certificate
  • For women, caste certificate from before marriage
  • Application fee of 30 INR [C$0.50]

One of the following:
  • Copy of ration card, copy of voter card or name on the voters list
(IndiaFilings n.d.d)
Delhi SC/ST certificate No

Option to include caste certificate of any paternal relative issued by Delhi or the applicant's state of origin. If no such caste certificate exists, "[f]ield verification will be mandatory."
  • For an adult applicant, proof of identity:
    -Aadhaar card;
    -voter ID card;
    -permanent account number (PAN) card;
    -ration card with photo;
    -driver's licence; or
    -any government-issued document
  • For a minor applicant, proof of identity (a letter from the school principal on letterhead or, for an applicant less than five years old, a birth certificate) as well as proof of identity for the parents (same as for an adult applicant).
  • Proof of present and permanent address for the adult applicant or the minor applicant's parents:
    -Aadhaar card;
    -bank passbook;
    -telephone bill (landline or "[p]ost-paid");
    -voter card;
    -ration card;
    -electricity, gas or water bill;
    -driver's licence;
    -rental agreement (registered); or
    -any government-issued document.
  • For applicants whose paternal relative has a caste certificate, proof of the applicant's relationship to the caste certificate holder
  • For applicants whose family settled in Delhi after 1951,
    -birth certificate (applicant born in Delhi)
    -matriculation certificate or "marks-sheet" (applicant studied in Delhi); or
    -proof of residence for the last five years
  • For applicants without a paternal relative caste certificate,
    -proof of residence in state of origin prior to 1951 (family moved to Delhi after 1951);
    -proof of residence in Delhi prior to 1951 (family has lived in Delhi since before 1951).
(Delhi n.d.)
Goa Caste certificate (SC/ST/OBC)   Yes, self-attested documents showing that the applicant's father or grandfather belongs to a SC/ST or OBC "notified by" the government Mandatory:
  • Self declaration
  • Birth certificate of the applicant (self-attested)
  • Birth certificate of the applicant's father or any paternal relatives (self-attested)
  • School leaving certificate and bonafide certificate for applicant, issued by school authorities (self-attested)
  • Documents showing that applicant or applicant's family (for SC/ST) or father (for OBC) was residing in Goa prior to 19 February 1968 (self-attested)
  • Samaj [caste or social group] certificate (self-attested)
  • Reports from the relevant talati [talathi] [5] and mamlatdar [6] (original)
  • For married women, marriage certificate (self-attested)
  • Income certificate for previous three years issued by the competent authority (gram panchayat [7] / municipality / Corporation of the City of Panaji)

  • Aadhaar/voter ID card, if available (self-attested)
(Goa n.d.)
Gujarat SC certificate No

Option to include as proof of caste
  • Proof of residence:
    -ration card;
    -true copy of telephone or electricity bill;
    -true copy of election card;
    -true copy of passport;
    -first page of bank passbook;
    -cancelled cheque;
    -post office account statement or passbook;
    -driver's licence;
    -government photo ID card;
    -service photo ID card issued by a public sector undertaking (PSU); or
    -water bill (not older than 3 months).
  • Proof of identity:
    -true copy of election card;
    -true copy of PAN card;
    -true copy of passport;
    -driver's licence;
    -government photo ID card;
    -service photo ID card issued by PSU;
    -any government document with a citizen photo; or
    -photo ID from a "[r]ecognized" educational institution.
  • Proof of caste:
    -true copy of school leaving certificate; or
    -caste certificate of a family member with pedhinamu (family tree issued by talati) or ration card.
  • Proof of relationship:
    -true copy of school leaving certificate;
    -affidavit; and
    -true copy of school leaving certificate of father/uncle/aunt.
  • Proof required "in service attachment":
    -true copy of birth certificate;
    -true copy of caste certificate given by a gram panchayat sarpanch or patwari (talati) cum mantri [secretary];
    -true copy of caste certificate given by the head of Nagarpalika [municipality] / Chief Officer;
    -true copy of school leaving certificate of father/uncle/aunt, and
    -true copy of caste certificate of father/uncle/aunt
(Gujarat n.d.)
Haryana SC certificate   In certain situations

Married women must provide a paternal caste report from a sarpanch/ nambardar [8], patwari or tehsildar (in rural areas) or a municipal councillor, corporation or committee (in urban areas).
Applicants born in Haryana whose father is not from Haryana must either provide the father's caste certificate or "verified" caste report from the state of origin.
  • Proof of identity or citizenship
    -driver's licence;
    -PAN card; or
    -Aadhaar card
  • Proof of residence, address, or ownership
    -voter ID;
    -government employee office card with the same address; or
    -"[c]urrent" electricity bill with the applicant's name
  • Pre-verification report by a sarpanch/nambardar and patwari (rural areas) or by a ward member and estate officer / zonal taxation officer / municipal corporation secretary (urban areas)
  • For women, a report indicating their marital status
  • Permanent residence in Haryana
  • Application fee of 30 INR [C$0.50]
  • For applicants who have not always lived at their current address, caste report from a sarpanch/nambardar, patwari or tehsildar of their original residence
(Haryana n.d.)
Himachal Pradesh SC/ST certificate   No Mandatory:
  • Proof of residence
  • Certificate from employer or community group
  • Application fees ("[i]f applicable")
(Himachal Pradesh n.d.)
Jammu and Kashmir Actual line of control [line of actual control] (ALC) / other social caste (OSC) / resident of backward area (RBA) and SC/ST certificate   No Mandatory for all applications:
  • Affidavit in support of the application
  • Attested copy of ration card
  • Copy of permanent residence certificate

Mandatory for ALC/OSC/RBA certificate:
  • Extract of Khasra Girdawari [harvest inspection register] / Misal-i-Haqiat [Misal Haqiyat] [record of rights] / Jamabandi [amended record of rights], continuously for at least the last 15 years
  • Extract of chowkidara [9] / chullah bandi [chulabandi] [10], continuously for at least the last 15 years
  • "Attested" copy of voter list
  • Income certificate, where applicable

Mandatory for SC/ST certificate:
  • Affidavit in support of the application
  • "Certified" copy of voter list
  • Extract of Misal-i-Haqiat / Jamabandi / Shajra Nasab [family tree]
(Jammu and Kashmir n.d.)
Jharkhand Caste certificate (SC, ST and OBC)     No Mandatory:
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of Indian citizenship
  • Proof of ordinary residence
  • Proof of permanent residence
  • Proof of caste
  • Self-declaration by [adult] applicant or minor applicant's parents
  • For Tatkal [Tatkaal] [expedited] applications, "[e]nclosure for Tatkal"
  • For OBC applications, promotion order (issued by employer, if "more than 40 years for [f]ather/[m]other")
(Jharkhand n.d.)
Karnataka Caste certificate (OBC, MBC, SC, and ST)   Yes, caste of the father and mother (including sub-caste) are required Mandatory:
  • Copy of ration card, voter card, or name on the voter list
  • Income report
  • Caste report from a patwari/sarpanch
  • For married women, caste certificate from before marriage
  • Self-declaration certificate that the information is correct
  • Application fee of 15 INR [C$0.25]
(Tumakuru n.d.)
Kerala Caste certificate (SC/ST and OBC) Yes, SC, ST or OBC caste proof of the applicant's father, brother, sister or any blood relatives Mandatory:
  • Income certificate
  • Proof of age
    -PAN card;
    -school certificate;
    -birth certificate.
  • Proof of address
    -voter card;
    -ration card;
    -electricity, water or phone bill.
  • For e-District portal registration:
    -Aadhaar card;
    -mobile number;
    -email ID.
(IndiaFilings n.d.e)
Madhya Pradesh Caste certificate (SC/ST/ OBC) No Mandatory:
  • Aadhar card
  • Voter ID
  • Driver's licence
  • Passport
  • PAN card
  • Transfer certificate
  • Caste report from a patwari/sarpanch
  • For women, a caste certificate from before marriage
  • Income certificate
  • Proof of residence
  • Caste/religion report
(IndiaFilings n.d.f)
Maharashtra Caste certificate   No Mandatory:
  • Proof of identity:
    -PAN card;
    -Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) job card;
    -identity card issued by a government or semi-government organization;
    -driver's licence;
    -Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) [health insurance coverage for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families] card; or
    -photo of applicant
  • Proof of address:
    -Aadhaar card;
    -driver's licence;
    -7/12 [record of rights] and 8A [record of land ownership] extracts / rent receipt;
    -water, telephone or electricity bill;
    -voter ID;
    -ration card; or
    -property tax receipt
  • One other document, such as
    -deposit receipt;
    -copy of voter list;
    -school leaving certificate;
    -caste certificate of father or relative;
    -proof of residence from gram panchayat; or
    -copy of ration card and voter ID
    A more complete list of documents in this category is available online.
  • "Other relevant documentary evidence"
  • Evidence in support of caste certificate
  • Evidence of the applicant's village or town of origin
  • Affidavit caste certificate (Form 2) and (Form 3)
  • Copy of revenue records or village panchayat record
  • Affidavit caste certificate for ST caste (Form A-1)
  • Birth register extract for the applicant or a relative
  • Primary school leaving certificate of the applicant or their father
  • Scrutiny committee validity certificate of a relative, if available
  • Extract of primary school admission register of the applicant, their father or grandfather
  • Extract of government service record (book) mentioning the caste/community category of applicant's relative
  • Documentary evidence of caste and ordinary residence "prior to the date of notification of the caste"
(Maharashtra n.d.)
Manipur Caste certificate (SC/ST and OBC)   Mandatory:
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of relationship between the applicant and their parent/guardian/spouse
  • Proof of citizenship where in doubt

For SC/ST certificate:
  • Proof of caste/tribe membership

For OBC certificate:
  • For applicants with an unemployed parent, proof of parent's unemployment
  • For applicants with a parent employed in specified sectors (details online), proof of parental income
  • For applicants with a parent employed in a non-PSU government post, proof of the parent's position category
  • Proof to establish whether either parent has held a constitutional post, when in doubt
  • Proof of class membership, when in doubt
(Manipur n.d.)
Meghalaya SC/ST Certificate Yes (if applicant is a minor) Mandatory:
  • Birth certificate or secondary school leaving certificate (SSLC) admit card
  • Proof of residence
    -ration card;
    -land documents;
    -voter ID;
    -electricity or telephone bill; or
    -any government certificate
  • In case of adoption, adoption documents
    -court order; or
    -registered adoption deed
  • In case of migration, ST/SC certificate from state of origin
  • Voter ID for applicant or a parent or guardian

All documents included in the application must be "self-attested"
(Meghalaya n.d.)
Mizoram SC/ST certificate No Mandatory:
  • Birth certificate
  • Voter ID and, for a minor, father's ID should be enclosed ("[a]ttested photocopy")
  • Letter (original) from village council president or local council attesting that the applicant belongs to a tribe
  • Children born of inter-caste marriages should enclose a certificate from the relevant village council president
(IndiaFilings n.d.g)
Nagaland ST certificate Yes, father's ST certificate Mandatory:
  • Age proof
    -birth certificate; or
    -SSLC book
  • For married women, a marriage certificate
  • Permanent resident certificate
  • Land allotment passbook or land possession certificate
(IndiaFilings n.d.h)
Odisha Caste certificate (SC, ST and OBC)   Optional for SC and ST, from parent or sibling For ST and SC certificate, at least one of the following documents:
  • Copy of "finally published" settlement/consolidation ROR
  • Self declaration
  • Voter ID
  • Land passbook
  • Aadhaar card
  • PAN card
  • Driver's licence
  • Recommendation from people's representatives

For OBC:
  • Proof of identity (mandatory)
  • Self declaration
  • Copy of ROR
  • Land passbook
(Odisha n.d.a; Odisha n.d.b; Odisha n.d.c)
Punjab SC certificate     Mandatory:
  • Copy of proof of residency
  • Copy of verification leaf (issued by sarpanch / patwari / Executive Office Municipal Corporation (EOMC) / Counselor of the ward)
  • Copy of proof of age
  • Copy of ration card
  • Copy of self declaration form
(Punjab n.d.)
Rajasthan Caste certificate (SC, ST, or OBC) Yes, caste certificate of father Mandatory:
  • Aadhar card
  • Ration card
  • An affidavit of 10 INR [C$0.17]
  • Proof of address
    -ration card;
    -voter ID;
    -Kiryanama [rental agreement]; or
    telephone bill or electricity bill.
  • Income certificate
  • Report from the relevant patwari
  • Two government employee certificates in the application form
  • Court fee ticket of 2 INR [C$0.04]
(IndiaFilings n.d.i)
Sikkim SC/ST certificate   If the applicant is applying for the service through their father, proof of father-child relationship is required Mandatory:
  • Recommendation, such as
    -panchayat verification report
    -report from Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA)
    -report from councillor
  • Proof of payment of 50 INR [C$0.84] application fee, such as
    -bank receipt
  • Proof of citizenship or, if applying through father, proof of father's citizenship
  • If applying through father, proof of father-child relationship, such as
    -transfer certificate
    -birth certificate
    -school certificate
(Sikkim n.d.)
Tamil Nadu Caste certificate (BC, SC, ST, and OBC)   Yes, caste certificates or school certificates of parents Mandatory:
  • Copy of ration card
  • School leaving certificate or transfer certificate
(IndiaFilings n.d.j)
Telangana Certificate of eligibility for reservation of civil posts and services for BC   No Mandatory:
  • Ration card, Aadhar card or voter ID
  • Property details for applicant's father or mother
  • Employment details or income tax returns for applicant's father/mother ("for professionals")
(Telangana n.d.)
Tripura SC certificate   Yes, father's caste certificate Mandatory:
  • Family ration card
  • Permanent residence in Tripura
  • Proof of age
  • SC sub-committee member certificate
  • Citizenship certificate
  • ROR certificate

  • Relationship certificate with father, uncle or sibling related by blood
(Tripura n.d.)
Uttar Pradesh Caste certificate     No Mandatory:
  • Photocopy of ration card
  • Self declaration form
  • Ward member/gram panchayat letter
(Kanpur Nagar n.d.)
Uttarakhand Caste certificate (SC/ST/ BC) Yes, caste certificate of father Mandatory:
  • Self declaration
  • Proof of address
    -food security card;
    -voter ID; or
    -telephone or electricity bill.
  • Income certificate
  • Certificates "in respect to caste / warden / village head"
(IndiaFilings n.d.k)
West Bengal Caste certificate (SC/ST/ OBC)   Yes, caste certificate of a family member Mandatory
  • Applicant's identification details
  • Proof of residence
  • Birth certificate
  • Income certificate
  • Aadhaar card
  • Voter ID
  • Ration card
  • Certificate from panchayat/municipality
(IndiaFilings n.d.l)

According to an October 2021 article from the Hindustan Times, an Indian English-language daily newspaper, the state of Rajasthan will begin listing the mother's name on caste certificates, while they previously only listed the father, to address "difficulties" faced by children of single or divorced women or children who do not have their father's information (Hindustan Times 26 Oct. 2021). According to sources, in January 2022 the Delhi government began to issue caste certificates to children of single mothers (The New Indian Express 5 Jan. 2022; Hindustan Times 6 Jan. 2022).

4. Content and Appearance of Caste Certificates

A scholar of castes at the Harvard Kennedy School provided the information in the following paragraph in correspondence with the Research Directorate:

The appearance of caste certificates varies by state and by category of SCs, STs, and OBCs. ST certificates have similar formats with "a logo, numerical certificate number, a date and a signing authority, and now they have photographs, but older ones did not"; OBC certificates have a similar format. SC/ST certificates issued by the government of Karnataka contain the father and mother's names, address, district, state, and the caste an individual belongs to. Previously caste certificates issued by the government of Karnataka had a handwritten signature, but they now have a digital signature. They also have a certificate number and a picture on the right (Scholar 18 Dec. 2021).

A blank sample of a caste certificate from the state of Delhi from the Delhi government website is attached to this Response (Attachment 1). A sample of a caste certificate from the state of Punjab from the Punjab government website is attached to this Response (Attachment 2). The Maharashtra Caste Certificate Act provides the following:

9. Each such Caste Certificate shall bear,–

  1. Serial number of the Scheduled Caste as mentioned in the Presidential Order or in case of De-notified Tribe (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribe, Other Backward Classes or Special Backward Category serial number as mentioned in the relevant Government Resolution, as amended from time to time;
  2. name, designation, signature and official seal of the Competent Authority.
  3. Serial number, date and place of issuance of such Caste Certificate. (Maharashtra 2000, italics in original)

5. Security Features

Information on the physical security features of caste certificates could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. According to an article from the Press Trust of India (PTI), scrutiny committees serve the purpose of verifying caste certificates (The New Indian Express 2 Sept. 2021). According to sources, Mumbai District has a Caste Certificate Verification Committee (The Hindu 1 Dec. 2021; 1 Dec. 2021). The scholar stated that the state of Maharashtra introduced caste validity certificates due to corruption, but they were unaware if this process was applied nationwide (Scholar 18 Dec. 2021).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


[1] According to the website of India's Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, different regions have different names for the administrative division at the sub-district level, including tehsil [tahsil] and taluka [taluk] (India n.d.).

[2] According to the Mamlatdars' Court Act, 1906, both mamlatdars and tehsildars are state-authorized revenue officers (India 1906).

[3] The Indian Express, an English-language daily newspaper based in India, indicates that in Assam State, gaon buras are village-level officials and part of district administration; their responsibilities include maintaining a village register and land records as well as issuing gaon bura certificates as proof of permanent residency in a given village (The Indian Express 27 July 2021). The same source notes that as of July 2021, gaon buras are now called gaon pradhans (The Indian Express 27 July 2021).

[4] According to PSC Education Center, an educational institution based in Raipur, India (PSC Education Center n.d.a), talati and patwari are both names for a village accountant, a type of government administrator in rural India (PSC Education Center n.d.b).

[5] See note 4.

[6] See note 2.

[7] The Panchayat Knowledge Hub run by Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a New Delhi-based "global centre for participatory research" (PRIA n.d.a), defines a gram panchayat as a village-level government unit (PRIA n.d.b).

[8] According to the Times of India, an Indian English-language newspaper, a nambardar is a "revenue record keeper" for a village (The Times of India 11 Feb. 2017).

[9] According to the National Herald, an Indian newspaper published by a company owned by members of the Indian National Congress Party (Business Standard n.d.), chowkidars are public servants overseeing four to five villages and are responsible for providing data to the government for the issuance of ration and voter ID cards, including information on land status, as well as individuals with physical disabilities, widows, government employees and households; Chowkidars also record and register births and deaths, collect the "house tax," and file "inquiry reports on state subject certificates and character certificates" (National Herald 23 Mar. 2019). Information on the chowkidar extract could not be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

[10] The Daily Excelsior, an English-language newspaper based in Jammu and Kashmir, notes that the chulabandi register record beneficiaries of various social programs related to the provision of electricity (Daily Excelsior 21 July 2018).


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Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Assam – representative of Cachar District, representative of Dhemaji district; Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; India – National Commission for Scheduled Castes; Karnataka – representative of Tumakuru district; National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights; professor of political science at a Canadian university whose research focuses on identity politics in south Asia; professor of sociology at an Indian university.

Internet sites, including: Al Jazeera; Amnesty International; Andaman and Nicobar Islands – government portal; Asian Centre for Human Rights; BBC; Belgium – Commissariat général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides; Bihar – caste certificate application; Chandigarh – e-District; Chhattisgarh – District Raipur; Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; Council on Foreign Relations; Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu – e-District Online Services;; EU – EU Agency for Asylum; France – Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides; Gujarat – District Ahmedabad; India – National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Government Services Portal, Staff Selection Commission, Supreme Court of India; India Today; Keesing Technologies – Keesing Documentchecker; Kerala – e-District; Ladakh – Scheduled Tribe Certificate; Lakshadweep – e-District Services; Madhya Pradesh – Lok Seva Guarantee; Minority Rights Group International; Nagaland – eDistrict; Netherlands – Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Norway – Landinfo; Odisha – eDistrict; Puducherry – government portal; Tamil Nadu – government portal; UK – Home Office; UN – UNDP, UNHCR; US – Library of Congress; Uttar Pradesh – District Magistrate of Agra; Voices for Freedom.


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Associated documents