Court questions government on Dalit Muslims' plea
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
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
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.
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