RESERVATION FOR DALIT CONVERTS

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would examine the question whether the court should wait for the report of the Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Commission or go ahead and hear a series of petitions seeking Scheduled Castes quota benefits for Dalit converts to other religions, primarily Christianity.
  • The Centre, through Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, said only persons professing Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism are deemed to belong to the SC community.
  • The inclusion of a group in the SC list under Clause 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 would be required to show “extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of practice of untouchability”.
  • Mehta said the court may wait till the new commission came up with its recommendations. The time given to the commission is two years.
  • The petitioners sought the court to declare Clause 3 of the 1950 Order to be declared unconstitutional and void.
  • The government argued that Dalits who had converted to Christianity or Islam to overcome caste oppression cannot now return to claim reservation benefits enjoyed by those who chose to stay back in the Hindu religious system.
  • Besides, the government said, Christianity is an egalitarian religion which did not adhere to any caste system.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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