Centre establishes panel to assess providing SC status to religious converts who were "historically" SCstext_fields
New Delhi: A commission led by former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan has been appointed by the Centre to look into the issue of granting Scheduled Caste status to people who claim to have "historically" belonged to the SCs but have converted to a different religion from those listed in the Presidential orders.
According to a gazette notification released by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry on Thursday, the three-person team also consists of former IAS officer Dr Ravinder Kumar Jain and member of the UGC Prof. Sushma Yadav.
The commission will examine the matter in line with the Presidential Orders issued from time to time under article 341 of the Constitution.
The panel will also examine the implications of the decision – if it comes to be – on the existing Scheduled Castes, besides taking into account the changes in customs, traditions, and their status of social discrimination and deprivation, after these people converted to other religions
According to the Presidential Orders, SC status is available only to persons following Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
The notification has also mentioned that certain groups have raised the queries of revisiting the existing definitions of Scheduled Caste and petitioned for new persons who belong to other religions beyond those permitted under the presidential orders, are to be added in the definitions, but many other groups have opposed the same. Representatives of the current Scheduled Caste category have raised objection that the proposed granting of the status would have a negative effect on the member of the existing eligible sections.
With PTI inputs