SC grants 3 months to Centre on PIL seeking SC status for Muslims

A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said it was not inclined to issue any mandamus (direction) to the government on the issue as it was a policy matter and asked for its response on the PIL seeking such a benefit.

The Bench said since it has to be a policy decision, it was for the government to come out with its stand as the courts have limited role in the matter.A similar petition seeking SC, ST status for certain class of persons within the Christian community was pending before another Bench.

The apex court passed the directions on a PIL filed by an NGO in 2008 contending that Muslim Dalits like Hindu khatiks, are engaged in the profession of slaughtering goats and have not been given Scheduled Caste status.

It was contended that originally both sets of khatiks were the same community and there is documentary proof to the effect that the Muslim khatiks are local converts but they are not guaranteed SC status like their Hindu counterparts, the PIL filed by Akhil Maharashtra Muslim Khatik Samaj said.

Counsel Mushtaq Ahmad said the Samaj was seeking parity-based constitutional relief for Muslim counterparts of Hindu SCs on the ground that the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, is unconstitutional as it is religion-based.

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