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Centre explains why it does NOT want Dalit Christians, Dalit Muslims in Scheduled Caste list

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry has said that Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims cannot claim benefits to which scheduled castes are entitled to, and that there is unconstitutionality in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950.

Centre explains why it does NOT want Dalit Christians, Dalit Muslims in Scheduled Caste list
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First Published Nov 10, 2022, 9:39 AM IST

Historical data shows Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims never faced backwardness or oppression, the Narendra Modi government has said while defending their exclusion from the list of Scheduled Castes. 
 
In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry has said that Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims cannot claim benefits to which scheduled castes are entitled to and that there is unconstitutionality in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950.

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The Centre's response came after a non-profit organisation, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), filed a petition seeking an extension of reservation and other benefits to Dalits who converted to Islam and Christianity.

The Social Justice and Empowerment ministry contended that the identification of Scheduled Castes revolves around a specific social stigma that is limited to SC communities identified in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.

The government affidavit reasons that the oppressive system of untouchability that resulted in the economic and social backwardness of some Hindu castes was not prevalent in Islamic or Christian societies. 

'The Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950, does not suffer from any unconstitutionality due to the exclusion of Christianity or Islam, the ministry said. 

The Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950 was based on 'historical data', which clearly established that Christian or Islamic society members never faced such backwardness or oppression, the affidavit stated.

It further states that one of the reasons why people from Scheduled Castes were converting to other faiths like Christianity or Islam was so that they can come out of the oppression and untouchability, which is not prevalent at all in other religions. 

Stating that the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission took a myopic view, the ministry also refused to agree with the recommendation in the 2007 report on the inclusion of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Caste list.

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