SC status of Dalits post conversion

SC status of Dalits post conversion

SC status of Dalits post conversion

#GS-02 Social Justice

For Prelims:

About Kaka Kalelkar Commission:

  • Kaka Kalelkar Commission is also known as the First Backward Classes Commission.

For Mains:

New Commission to Study SC status of Dalits post conversion:

  • The Union government has now formed a three-member Commission of Inquiry headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, to examine whether the Scheduled Caste (SC) status can be accorded to Dalits who have over the years converted to religions other than Sikhism or Buddhism.
  • The three-member commission will also comprise Professor Sushma Yadav, member, UGC, and retired IAS officer Ravinder Kumar Jain.
  • It has been given a two-year deadline to submit a report on the issue starting from the day Justice Balakrishnan takes charge of the commission.
  • The commission’s is also expected to look into the changes an SC person goes through after converting to another religion and its implications on the question of including them as SCs.

Why this committee was constituted:

  • Supreme Court on October 11 is expected to hear the Centre’s present position on a batch of petitions seeking the inclusion of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims and the removal of religion as criterion for inclusion as SCs.
  • Kaka Kalelkar Commission have documented the existence of caste and caste discrimination among Indian Christians and Indian Muslims, concluding that Dalit converts continued to face the same social disabilities even after leaving the Hindu fold.

Current conditions of converted SC/ST communities:

  • Currently, the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 provides for only those belonging to Hindu, Sikh, or Buddhist communities to be categorised as SCs.
  • The initial Order only allowed for Hindu communities to be classified as SCs based on the social disabilities and discrimination they faced due to untouchability.
  • It was amended in 1956 to include Sikh communities and again in 1990 to include Buddhist communities as SCs.