Dalit Muslim hope in Supreme Court ruling

Dalit Voice, Sept. 2009

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.



Posts a comment

© Indian Dalit Muslims' Voice
Back to top