SC status sought for dalit Muslims, Christians

Constitutional experts and legal luminaries have favoured according Scheduled Caste (SC) status to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin, saying that denial of the status was a breach of the equality clause guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.

The views were expressed at a seminar on “The inclusion of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in the Scheduled Caste list: Constitutional and Social Justices issues” here on Monday. The programme was organised by the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), National Law School, Bangalore.

In his inaugural address, Union Minister of Minority Affairs K Rahman Khan argued that the demand of Dalit Muslims and Christians for amending para three of the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950, to include them in the Scheduled Castes list, is legitimate and justified.

With the matter pending before the Supreme Court, the minister expressed confidence that the judiciary would find a favourable solution.

Former Chief Justice of India A M Ahmadi said denial of the SC status is a breach of the equality clause guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution. This is especially egregious because Article 25 empowers every person in India to practice and profess any religion, he added.

Satish Deshpande, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi, said there was no justification for the discrimination.

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