SC favours larger bench`s hearing on quota to Dalit Christians

The Supreme Court termed as "sensitive" and "important" the issue of granting Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians for extending benefits of reservation to them.

Last Updated: Jan 04, 2011, 21:26 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court termed as "sensitive" and "important" the issue of granting Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians for extending benefits of reservation to them and said it might refer the matter for examination by a larger bench, if required.

The apex court said it would also examine the meaning
of `caste` in terms of Articles 16(4) and 15(4) of the
Constitution which deal with reservations in state jobs and
empowerment of socially and educationally backward classes and
ensure that none of the interested groups is left out from
being heard.

"If you (parties) feel it requires consideration by a
larger bench, let us be informed," a three-judge bench headed
by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said while asking the counsel
appearing in the matter to find out whether hearing of the
petition will be in conflict with any other bench which in the
past may have dealt with an identical issue.

Maintaining that a bunch of petitions before it raises
constitutional issues, the bench, also comprising justices K S
Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, said "as far as possible we
want to hear every group and no group should be left out".

The bench said it would bring the issue in public
domain by putting it on the apex court`s website.

PTI