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The Supreme Court Monday gave six weeks’ time to the central government to file its reply on a suit filed by the Akhil Maharashtra Muslim Khatik Samaj seeking inclusion in the list of other scheduled castes.

The petition said that socially Muslim Dalits like khatiks, mehtars, bhangi, lal-begi, halakkhor, mochi, mukri and garudi were similarly placed as their Hindu counterparts therefore they should be included in the category of other scheduled castes.

An apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan gave six weeks’ time to the government after Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that a petition by similarly placed Dalit Christians was pending before the court.

He said that the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities under the chairmanship of Justice Ranganath Mishra has recommended the delinking of religion from the issue of scheduled caste status.

The solicitor general said that they need time for getting response from the states.

The petitioner said that denial of scheduled caste status to Dalit Muslims on the grounds of religion was discriminatory and against the spirit of the constitution.

The Hindu Khatiks in Maharashtra have been declared as scheduled castes but the Muslim Khatiks doing the same job of slaughtering have been denied the same status, which was arbitrary and without any legal and constitutional foundation, the petitioner said.

The classification of Dalits into Hindu Dalits, Muslim Dalits, Christian Dalits, Sikh Dalits and Buddhist Dalits was a recent phenomenon. Previously under the Act of 1935 they were referred to as ‘depressed classes’, the petitioner said.

One Response to “Court questions government on Dalit Muslims’ plea”

  1. shanmohamed inamdar

    Dalit Muslim hope in Supreme Court ruling
    In a great development for a PIL lodged in Supreme Court by Akhil Maharastra Khatik Samaj (AMKS) for inclusion of
    Dalit Muslims in Scheduled Caste category, the apex court recently ordered Union of India to file counter affidavit to the
    writ petition. It is happening for the first time that the Union of India has responded to this petition. Shamsuddin Shaikh,
    chairman of Akhil Maharashtra Khatik Samaj, has said that they are fighting for Dalit Muslim rights for more than a
    decade. From 1935 to 1950 all Dalits irrespective of their religion were provided with reservations.
    However, on Jan.26, 1950 when the constitution of India came into force an Order was passed by then President of
    India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, limiting the reservation to only “Hindu Dalits”, clearly prohibiting the provision of Article 341
    which states that all SCs should be given reservation. The Presidential Order 1950 denies inclusion of Dalits of any
    community other than Hindu in the SC category. The order says no person who professes a religion different from
    Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the SC. This part of the order runs contrary to the provisions of Articles 14
    (equality before the law), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion) and 25 (freedom to profess and practice
    any religion) of the Constitution.
    The situation clearly calls for a constitutional amendment to include Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians. Sikhs and
    Budhists were already included under SC.
    Dalit Muslims deserve SC reservation as they are not only engaged in the same profession as “Hindu Dalit” but also
    suffer the same discrimination as their “Dalit Hindu” counterpart. Mushtaq Ahmed, Supreme Court advocate in the above
    case, said the Ranganath Mishra Commission has also recommended SC status for Dalit Muslims. There are 35 Dalit
    Muslim castes among Muslims.The final hearing of apex court is on 29/3/2011.we hope dalit converts will get justice.


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