Center establishes commission to review granting Dalit status to religious converts



The central government has set up a commission headed by former Chief Justice of India (CJI) KG Balakrishnan to analyze the issue of granting Scheduled Caste (SC) status to new people who claim to have “historically “is part of the SC but have converted to a religion other than those mentioned in the presidential decrees.

According to the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Ordinance 1950 (as amended from time to time), no person following any religious belief other than Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism can be considered a member of an SC. However, Muslim and Christian bodies have often demanded similar status for Dalits who have converted to their religions. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed their request.

About the Board

According to a Gazette notification issued Thursday, October 6, by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the three-member commission includes Dr. Ravinder Kumar Jain, a retired Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, and Prof. Sushma, member of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Yadav.

The panel will analyze the granting of scheduled caste status to new people who claim to have “historically” been part of the SC but have converted to a religion other than those mentioned in the presidential decrees issued from time to time under the article 341 of the Indian Constitution.

The commission will examine the consequences of the decision – if it materializes – on the existing scheduled castes, in addition to taking into account the changes in traditions, customs and their status of social deprivation and discrimination, after the conversion of these individuals to other religions.

It will also analyze any other corresponding question that the commission deems relevant in consultation with the Center and with its agreement.

Matter of public importance

In the notification, the ministry called the matter a matter of public importance and said it was a “fundamental and historically complex sociological and constitutional issue”, NDTV reported.

An excerpt from the notification read: “And considering that, given its importance, sensitivity and potential impact, any change to the definition in this regard should be based on detailed and definitive study and extensive consultation with all parties and no commission under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 (60 of 1952) has so far investigated the matter.”

Further, he mentioned that the panel will be headquartered in New Delhi and will submit its report two years from the date of assumption by the President.

The head of the panel, KG Balakrishnan, is the first Dalit Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and also served as Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of India.

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