SC seeks Centre's response on PIL seeking parity in quota for Dalit Christians
It has sought inclusion of Dalit Christians in the Scheduled Caste category for enabling them to get benefits of reservation under the Constitution.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response on a plea by Dalit Christians seeking parity in quota with their counterparts among the Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities.
A bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and DY Chandrachud issued notice to the central government on the plea filed by All India Catholic Union challenging the validity of paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950, which says no person who professes a religion different from Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste.
It has sought inclusion of Dalit Christians in the Scheduled Caste category for enabling them to get benefits of reservation under the Constitution. The plea, filed by advocate Jose PI, claimed that by this Order, Scheduled Caste persons professing religion different from the Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, are deemed not to be scheduled caste and hence deprived of quota benefits.
It said the exclusion ought to have been only of those persons who were no more socially and educationally backward. "The exclusion as per 1950 SC Order ought to have been only of those persons who are no more socio-educationally backward and it may be appropriate to treat as a different class of persons who has taken a religion other than Hinduism as their profession by joining any of its religious congregations for they have gained in education as well as social status," the plea said.
"It may be mentioned that by amendment Act 63 of 1956, persons professing Sikh religion was included in Para 3 after Kalelkar Commission in 1955 submitted its report according to which persons professing Sikh religion were found to be backward. However the benefit was not given to Christians," it said.
"Because the advantage of gaining, or the disadvantage of losing, the benefits specially provided to members of a Scheduled Caste through various reservation and other laws/ policies of the Government to a Christian of SC origin upon 'Ghar Vapasi' or to a Hindu of SC origin upon deciding to profess Christian religion, respectively, under the 1950 (SC) Order by itself is not only discrimination but also amounts to granting of a special privilege by the State to the preferred Hindu religion," it said.
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