Bill to enlarge SC list in four states passed in Lok Sabha

Bill to enlarge SC list in four states passed in Lok Sabha

A bill to add more castes under the Scheduled Castes category in four states and drop one in Sikkim, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, however, shot down demands by some MPs that Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims too be extended  SC reservation benefits as the Constitution prohibited reservation on the basis of religion. Moreover, they said, the matter was pending in the Supreme Court.

All the parties passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014, by voice vote, adding more castes to the SC category in the states of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Tripura. The Majhi community was dropped from the list in Sikkim.

Opening the debate, Congress MP K Suresh said the “Pulluvan” community in Kerala was denied reservation benefits meant for SCs though they are the same as “Pulluva”, due to spelling variation. The Kerala Government had suggested inclusion of this community in the SC list, he said. He welcomed the inclusion of “Thachars” in the list.

Suresh, who was a minister in the previous UPA government, said that due to political and vote bank compulsions, many states recommended a large number of communities for inclusion in the SC/ST list.

He lamented that though the reservation percentage is constant, the number of communities have ncreased from time to time.

Owaisi referred  to a 1950 Presidential Order, issued under Article 341, and said  that it specified that a Dalit can only be a Hindu, Sikh, and a Buddhist.

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