Apex Court Reopens Proceedings on SC Status for Dalit Christians and Muslims:-
The matter concerning the status of Dalit Christians and Muslims as Scheduled Castes (SCs) has been pending before the Supreme Court for 2 decades. Social justice of such classes of Indian citizens falls under threat when administrative action is delayed by such long time gaps. To address this problem, the Supreme Court has now decided to take prompt action on the matter by itself.
Supreme Court’s Line of Action
The Central Government sent a prior request to the Supreme Court to keep the matter on hold for some time and wait for the Mishra Commission to prepare a report on the same.
However, given the long time since which the matter has been kept pending, a bench of the Supreme Court comprising Sanjay Kishan Kaul J., Ahsanuddin Amanullah J., and Aravind Kumar J., decided that the report by the Committee was not ‘perfunctory’ and that the Court would delve into the matter on its own.
The Court rightfully pointed out that the observations made by the Centre till now are very general and do not address the issues involved comprehensively. The probability of the finding from the report being accurate is also low since every government vents out its own political agenda in the form of biased reports.
The SC said, “Tomorrow, there will be a different political dispensation which may say that the new report is not acceptable.”
Primary Issue Involved
The matter involves a critical question regarding people who have changed their religion. The argument by the Centre remains that those Dalits who have changed their religion to Christianity and Islam later cannot be given the status of a ‘Scheduled Caste’ now.
However, the Supreme Court maintains, “Social stigma and religious stigma are different things. Social stigma may continue even after conversion. We cannot shut our eyes when we are considering all these constitutional matters.”
The stand of the Court is justified since Dalit Christians and Muslims are still treated as untouchables in Indian society.
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