No data showing Dalit Christians and Muslims facing oppression, claims Centretext_fields
New Delhi: The Centre claimed Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims are excluded from the list of Scheduled Castes because historical data shows no backwardness or oppression was ever faced by these communities.
The Centre was responding to a plea of the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) in an affidavit to the Supreme Court. The petition sought an extension of reservation and other benefits to people from Dalit communities who coverted to Islam and Christianity.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment stated that Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims cannot claim benefits that Scheduled Castes are entitled to. The affidavit added that the identification of Scheduled Castes is centred around a specific social stigma that is limited to the communities identified in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.
The ministry also disagreed with the report of the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission that said Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims should be included in the SC list. The Centre called this a "myopic" view.
The affidavit further stated that the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950 does not suffer from any unconstitutionality considering the exclusion of Christianity or Islam because the oppressive system of untouchability that leads to economic and social backwardness of some Hindu castes was not prevalent in Christian or Islamic societies. It further said the order was based on the historical data which established that no such "backwardness or oppression was ever faced by members of Christian or Islamic society."
"In fact, one of the reasons for which people from Scheduled Castes have been converting to religions like Islam or Christianity is so that they can come out of the oppressive system of untouchability which is not prevalent at all in Christianity or Islam," added the Centre's affidavit.