In an important move, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Union government to grant the Scheduled Caste status to Dalit converts to Islam so that they can benefit from reservation in government jobs and admission to educational institutions.
The Muslim body has said the inclusion of Muslims within the list of SCs would increase the participation of the Muslim community in the political, educational, and employment sectors.
It filed an intervention application in a plea seeking inclusion of Dalit converts to Christianity and Islam in the list of Scheduled Caste and challenging Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders, 1950, which provides SC status only to those professing Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.
According to the plea, the denial of the Scheduled Caste status to Scheduled Castes Muslims thereby depriving them of political, educational, and other benefits given to non-Muslim and non-Christian Scheduled Castes persons is a calculated historical wrong to restrain the free profession, practice, and propagation of religion.
The apex court’s attention needs to be drawn to discriminatory situations where Scheduled Castes Muslims are being denied various benefits, including those of education and employment by means of the inherently discriminatory Constitution Order of 1950, said JUH.
“In the present issue, a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste is provided benefits if he is a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. However, if the same person is a Muslim, he will not be provided those benefits. This distinction is totally arbitrary and is sans any reasonable classification,” read the petition.
Earlier other prominent Muslim groups Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and AIMIM demanded the same.