Free Press Journal

Strong plea for SC status to Muslim, Christian Dalits


According to National Minority Commission chief Wajahat Habibullah, the status should be extended to all minorities

New Delhi: At a time when the issue of quota for backward class Muslims has stirred a political controversy, National Minority Commission chief Wajahat Habibullah has made a strong plea for granting Scheduled Caste status to Muslim and Christian Dalits to get them reservation benefits.

Referring to the Constitution Order of 1950 that asks for inclusion of those Dalits, who converted to Buddhism and Sikhism in the SC category, Habibullah said, ” Our case is that if you have extended it to some religious groups, if you extend it to some minorities, then it is unfair. It must extend to all minorities.” He said he also met the Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Caste P L Puniya in this regard after taking over as NCM Chairperson last year.

” We have discussed it. They ( NCSC) of course have no problem. They were only having difficulties with some kind of percentages or number but that is something that can be seen,” the NCM chief said. Habibullah said that if reservation is given to some sections to provide them restitution for

some injustice done to them in their perception, ” simply because they changed their religion does not mean that they have not suffered those atrocities over the centuries.” The contentious issue of reservation for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims, which also found favour with the Ranganath Mishra Commission report, is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

The apex court had on January 21 last year asked the Central government to submit its views regarding Para 3 of the Constitution ( Scheduled Caste) order of 1950, which says that no person, who professes a religion different from Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist religion, shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled

Caste. The Supreme Court had asked whether the particular paragraph is ” unconstitutional, and void, being violative of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 25 of the Constitution of India.

These Articles prescribe prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or birth to all citizens.