A Caste Certificate is the proof of one's belonging to a particular caste, especially in case one belongs to any of the 'Scheduled Castes', as specified in the Indian Constitution. The Government felt that the Scheduled Castes and Tribes need special encouragement and opportunities to progress at the same pace as the rest of the citizenry. As a result, as part of the Indian system of Protective Discrimination, there exist certain special privileges granted to this category of citizens, such as 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. To be able to avail these privileges, a citizen belonging to a Scheduled Caste must be in possession of a valid Caste Certificate.
The statutory lists of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, in pursuance of Articles 341 and 342 of the Indian Constitution, were notified for the first time under the Constitution (Schedule Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. These lists have been modified/amended/supplemented from time to time. On the reorganisation of the States, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes List (Modification) Order came into force from 29th October, 1956. Thereafter, a few other orders in respect of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes list in some individual States also came into force.