A Panel will be formed by the Central Government to investigate the social, economic, and educational standing of Scheduled Castes or Dalits who have converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism, or Sikhism.
This proposed panel (commission) is important since multiple cases are currently pending in the Supreme Court seeking SC reservations for Dalits, converted to Christianity or Islam.
Article 341 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 specifies that no person of a religion other than Hinduism, Sikhism, or Buddhism can be recognized as a member of the Scheduled Caste.
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The original order merely designated SC members as Hindus. It was later extended to include Sikhs in 1956 and Buddhists in 1990.
The panel would consist of 3-4 members, with the chairman being a Union Cabinet Minister.
It will conduct a thorough examination in status and position of Dalits, converted to Christianity or Islam.
It will also investigate the implications of adding more members to the present SC list.
It will exclude STs and OBCs, converted to Islam or Christianity. This is because STs benefit regardless of religion, and some Christian and Muslim communities already benefiting from being on the central and state OBC lists.
SCs currently receive 15% reservation in direct recruitment to central government jobs.
Ranganath Mishra Commission
The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minority was set up in 2004 by former CJI Ranganath Misra, to recommend strategies to enhance the well being of socially and economically poor sectors of India’s linguistic and religious minorities.
This commission suggested that SC status be completely de-linked from religion and become religion-neutral, similar to STs.
However, this advice was not implemented because it lacked adequate support from field investigations.
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