Can Dalit Converts To Other Religions Retain Their SC Status? Central Government Forms Inquiry Commission Examine Issue

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 7, 2022 09:47 PM +05:30 IST
Can Dalit Converts To Other Religions Retain Their SC Status? Central Government Forms Inquiry Commission Examine Issue A Christian cross. Representative image (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The Central Government has formed a commission headed by former CJI K G Balakrishnan for looking into the issue of giving SC status to people who claim to have historically belonged to the SC communities, but have been converted to a religion other than the ones mentioned in the Presidential orders, i.e., Sikhism and Buddhism.

In practical context, the commission will look into whether SC converts to Islam and Christianity can continue to be considered as belonging to the Scheduled Castes.

The commission has been given a period of two years to submit its report.

Currently, if a Hindu belonging to one of the SC communities converts to Islam or Christianity, he loses his SC status and the affirmative action benefits related to that status.

The other two members of the commission include retired IAS officer Dr Ravinder Kumar Jain and member UGC Prof Sushma Yadav.

A notification in this regard was issued by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.

In technical terms, the job of the commission is to examine the matter in keeping with the Presidential Orders issued from time to time under article 341 of the Constitution.

It will also explore the implications of the decision (of granting SC status to converts), if implemented, on existing Scheduled Castes.

Moreover, it is also their job to take into account changes in customs, traditions, and the status of social discrimination and deprivation of people who converted to other religions.

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