SC notice to Govt on extending Dalit converts` reservation

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 22:54

New Delhi: The issue of reservation benefits
for Dalits converted to Christianity and Islam as also Parsis
and Jains on Wednesday reached the Supreme Court which sought a
response from the Centre on a PIL accusing it of scuttling the
recommendations of Rangnath Misra Commission in this regard.

The PIL, filed by All India Christian Federation, sought
reservation for converted Dalits of all faiths on the same
footing as extended to Scheduled Castes following Hinduism,
Buddhism and Sikhism.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and
Justice B S Chauhan issued a notice to the Ministry of Social
Justice and Ministry of Minority Affairs for its response on
the implementation of the recommendation of the National
Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM)
headed by former Chief Justice of India Rangnath Misra.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal and D Vidyanandam submitted
the recent statement by Minority Affairs Minister Salman
Khurshid that the report of NCRLM was not made public and
there was a difference between the manifesto of Congress party
and the recommendation by the Commission was an attempt to
defeat the claims of converts.

Venugopal said the Centre had referred the NCRLM
report to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes which
also supported the reported recommendation for 15 per cent (10
per cent for Muslims and 5 per cent for others) reservation
without disturbing 50 per cent ceiling set by the Supreme
Court.

The PIL said paragraph three of the Presidential order of
1950 under Article 341 of the Constitution, which empowers the
President to specify Scheduled Castes, was coming in the way
of extending the benefits of reservation to Dalit converts.

It sought striking down of paragraph 3 of the
Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 on the grounds that
it is ultra vires of the Constitution.

After a brief hearing, the Bench tagged the petition with
other PILs on the contentious issue which has been pending
since 2004.

-PTI



First Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 22:54

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