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SC Status to Dalit Christians
Centre gets 2 months to take a decision
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 19
The Supreme Court today gave two-months’ time to the Centre to take a decision on the Justice Ranganath Mishra commission report, recommending Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians to enable them to take the benefit of reservations.

While asking the Centre to firm up its view on the report by the panel, headed by Justice Mishra, a former Chief Justice of India, the Court directed additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam to place on record the decision taken by the government within two months with the entire data available with it on the status of the Dalit Christians as probed by the panel.

The direction was issued by a Bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, while hearing two PILs pending since 2004 and 2005 seeking reservation benefits for Dalit Christians as available to the SCs among Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.

The Court indicated that it could adjudicate upon the matter only after the government took a decision either way on Justice Mishra panel report.

On conversion to Christianity, the Dalits among Hindus were denied the benefits available to SCs; but on conversion to Buddhism and Sikhism, they continue to get the same benefits.

Subramaniam told the court that Justice Mishra Commission, set up by the government to examine the problems of religious and linguistic minorities, had submitted its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May and the Centre had referred it to the National Commission for Scheduled Cases for further examination.

Justice Mishra penal had recommended that the SC status of Dalit Christians be maintained as even after their conversion, their social status did not change much.

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