Published On:29 June 2009
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

PIL lodged in Supreme Court seeking SC/ST status to Dalit Muslims

IMO News Service

Akhil Maharastra Khatik Samaj has lodged a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking “parity based constitutional relief for the Muslim counterparts of the Hindu Scheduled Castes”. The PIL has challenged the vires and constitutionalism of the para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled caste) Order, 1950, which denies the recognition of Muslim castes under Scheduled Castes but however issues the said status to their Hindu counterparts.

The PIL has demanded that the Supreme Court issue a writ of certiorari and declare clause 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 as ultra vires the Constitution of India or to identify and include the Muslim Arzals or Muslim Dalits like khatiks, mehters/ Bhangi/Lal- Begi/ Halakkhor, Mochi, Mukri and Garudi etc. in the category of other Scheduled Castes mentioned in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.

Haji Shamsuddin Shaikh, Chairman of Akhil Maharashtra Muslim Khatik Samaj (AMMKS), said that in the meeting held at Pune on 10th June 2009, the petitioners of Dalit Muslim case decided to meet the Prime Minister, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik, to demand justice, and to request to file the answer in Supreme Court on the basis of Rangnath Mishra Commission report as they had promised before election. AMMKS office bearers are also planning to meet all Dalit/OBCs leaders.

According to the PIL, basically the Dalit Muslims are deprived of the status of Scheduled Castes on the ground that “there is no caste system in egalitarian Islam whereas the uncomfortable reality is that the Indian Muslim social milieu is caste based not scripturally but practically.”

Ironically, the issue of the Scheduled Tribes is delinked from religion, but the issue of Scheduled Castes is specifically linked with religion. Here also, the order discriminates with Islam and Cristianity by providing Scheduled Castes convert to Sikhism reservation when Sikhism too does not allow caste system and no proof is adduced till date that even after conversion to Sikhism the same caste disability and the former customs and traditions continues. Same is the case with Buddhists.
The mentioned Constitution (Schedules Castes) order 1950 itself, by nature, is discriminatory on grounds of religion and is hit by Article 15 (1),(2) and 16 (1), (2) of the Constitution of India), Article 14, Article 341 and Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850 where all prohibit discrimination based on religion, among similar groups, forfeiture of rights in case of conversion and practice of reasonableness in a broader sense. The PIL outlines that the said order is also anti-secular by quoting Article 25, 26, and 29 (2).

The PIL categorises Muslims into three groups – (1) those without any social disabilities, “the Ashraf”; (2) those equivalent to Hindu OBCs, “the Ajlafs”; and (3) those equivalent to Hindu Scs, “the Arzals”. The PIL further concludes that Arzals (Muslim Dalits), Hindu Dalits and Christian Dalits are one and the same. “Because though the religions of Islam and Christianity do not recognise caste system like Hindus but reality is that it prevails amongst them also with a difference in degree.”

The humiliation, discrimination and backwardness socially, economically and educationally continue to exist even after conversion to Islam and Christianity. Considering this the PIL calls the exclusion of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians as unconstitutional when all three carry on the same so called Dirty Jobs.

The PIL states the example of Khatiks, Hindu butchers who have been declared as Scheduled Castes but Muslim Khatiks , Kasai, butchers and Bakar Kasab, differentiated only by names and titles, are denied of the same right in spite of carrying on the same profession and being at par socially, economically, educationally with Hindu Khatiks. Even National Commission for Minorities and the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities are in support of recognizing Dalit Muslims at par with Dalit Christians.

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 29, 2009. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on June 29, 2009. Filed under . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

1 comments for "PIL lodged in Supreme Court seeking SC/ST status to Dalit Muslims"

  1. 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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