SC to study if J. Ranganath Mishra panel data can be used to decide on quota for Dalit converts

Source: The post is based on the article SC to study if J. Ranganath Mishra panel data can be used to decide on quota for Dalit convertspublished in The Hindu on 12th April 2023

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has said that the government should recheck its stance on the 2007 report of the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

What is the case before the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court is hearing a series of petitions filed 19 years ago which had challenged the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 as discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 (equality before law) and 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste etc) of the Constitution as it discriminates against Scheduled Caste converts to religions other than Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

Note: The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, as amended from time to time, says no person professing a religion other than Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste (SC).

What is Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission?

Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission
Source: Livemint

National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, also called Ranganath Misra Commission, was constituted by the Government of India in 2004 to look into various issues related to Linguistic and Religious minorities in India.

One of the recommendations of the commission was to permit Dalits who convert to Islam or Christianity to avail of reservation benefits under the Scheduled Caste reservation quota.

What is the present government’s stance on Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission’s report?

The present government has rejected the report. It has constituted a new Commission headed by a former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan to prepare a report on the question of granting SC status to new persons who have historically belonged to the Scheduled Castes but have converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

The government has said that the new Commission’s terms of reference were in tune with the Supreme Court judgment in Soosai versus Union of India in 1985.

This judgment held that for inclusion in the 1950 Order, there should be proof through empirical data that Hindu Dalit converts were suffering from the same “oppressive severity” in the new environment of a different religious community.

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