Centre set up a committee to consider ‘Scheduled Caste’ status for converted dalits

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Center has set up a committee to consider SC status for Converted Dalits new persons who have historically belonged to the Scheduled Castes’’ but have converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism”. The committee has been set up by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Head of the committee 

The three member committee will be headed by former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan. It includes retired IAS officer Dr Ravinder Kumar Jain and UGC member Prof (Dr) Sushma Yadav as members. 

The commission will have to submit its report to the Ministry in two years.

What is the issue? 

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, stipulates that no person professing a religion different from Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism can be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste. The original order under which only Hindus were classified was later amended to include Sikhs and Buddhists.

However many Scheduled caste persons who converted to Islam and Christianity are demanding that they should also be included in the list as they continue to face discrimination. 

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court by the National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), demanding the status of Scheduled Caste for converted dalits. In August 2022, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to submit its current position on the issue.

The new commission has been set up by the government so that it can present its view on the matter before the court.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment: Virendra Kumar

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