New Delhi: A bill to include more castes under Scheduled Castes category in four states and exclude one from it in Sikkim was passed in Lok Sabha on Thursday amid demand by some parties that Christian and Muslims Dalits too should be given SC benefits, which government rejected.
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was passed with a voice vote with almost all parties supporting it, will bring these castes in the SC list of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Tripura.
R Gopalakrishnan (AIADMK) and Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) sought inclusion of Dalits who had converted to Christianity and Islam under the SC category, but Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said it was not under government's consideration as it is against Constitutional provisions.
The matter is also pending before the Supreme Court, he said.
Some MPs, including K Suresh of Congress, said state governments due to "vote bank" politics recommend inclusion of more and more castes under the SC category while percentage of reservation remains same. The Centre must carry out a thorough check, Suresh said.
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav appealed to government to accept the UP government's demand of including 17 castes under the category as he described their poor socio-economic state, but Gehlot contended that the state government had withdrawn its proposal. Yadav claimed it was a different government.
The bill was first tabled in 2012 but lapsed after the previous Lok Sabha was dissolved and the BJP government introduced it August in Lok Sabha.
Sankar Prasad Dutta (CPI-M) demanded that reservation to the SC communities be extended to private sector too.