The Bold Voice of J&K

Politicians trumpet slogans on reservations for Muslims but not that ‘Truthfully’

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“Castes” from amongst the Muslims who too are socially & educationally oppressed amongst them be included in SC

Daya Sagar

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Sri Lalu Prasad Yadav on this 7th May while speaking to reporters created agitating flares in the political circles when he said <” Reservation Toe Milna Chahiye Musalmano Ko , Poora”> and it being election season he was condemned by his political opponents for suggesting grant of reservation on the basis of ‘religion’ . 7th May also being a polling day for 2024 Lok Sabha polls and sensing likely damages due to his statement, immediately the same day, Sri Lalu Prasad Yadav issued another video statement saying < “Aarakshan Samajik Aadhar Hota Hai, Dharma Adhar Nahin Hota Hai” >. This has not happened only once , such things often happen where in the politicians keep on disturbing communal harmony.
So there is utmost need to snatch the issue of reservations in Legislature and in services for religious minorities ( particularly Muslims which is very large majority for vote bank purposes) from the Politicians who use ‘such’ subjects/ demands more for exploiting the communities for political purposes rather than using the same for their benefit for which muslim/ christian community people should impress upon their religious leaders to accept that their communities too still have caste system / oppressed segments like Hindu and the socially suffering castes should be plainly named for the purposes of inclusion in SC schedule like Hindu/ Bhudhist/Sikh . By doing so the discriminated / suffering sects/ ‘castes’ from amongst the Muslims too could be propped for further progress and one tool used by politicians to make innocent hindu stand against innocent muslim would be snatched by providing reservations as member of ‘SC’ to Muslims / Christians too on the basis of social & education backwardness in case there too social oppression / discrimination ( like it existed in Hindu society) exists .
Government of India had in a submission made before the Supreme Court of India in 2022 pleaded that the exclusion of Indian citizens belonging to Christianity and Islam in the category of Scheduled Caste ( SC) was due to the reason that the “oppressive system” of untouchability was not prevalent in either of these two religions which is why C.O 19 The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 as amended from time to time, says no person professing a religion other than Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste (SC). The government had opined that the report of the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission, which had recommended inclusion of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Castes, was hence not accepted. It has been alleged by some activists / opinion makers that Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 is discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 (equality before law) and 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste etc) of the Constitution as it discriminates against Scheduled Caste converts to religions other than Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. On face of it while taking first notice of such argument they do appear having some logic but that needs to be tested to the basic concept before the framers of constitution of India who constitutionally provisioned reservation in the Parliament/ Legislatures (Part XVI Special Provisions Relating To Certain Classes :Art 330 of constitution : Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People and Art 332. Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assemblies of the States. 334. Reservation of seats and special representation to cease after seventy*years . 338. National Commission for Scheduled Castes.- 340. Appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes. -(1) The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes …)- and Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to services and posts (Art 335 :.-The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration…..) for propping the socially & educationally backwards from amongst the Indian citizens ( SC) & ST. And to add to that in directive principles Art 44 says <46. Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections.-The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribe…….>.
As regards the ‘socially & educationally backwards’ ( SC) attention was conceptually and pointedly focused on the prevailing social discrimination against some sections/ groups extended by other groups of society like the prevailing practices of “untouchability” for which it was only the Hindu society which was accused of inheriting and carrying such bad traditions ( social oppressions like commonly known as untouchability) , where as other ‘religious’ communities had been claiming that there was no social discrimination based on any caste classifications amongst them. So w.r.t reservations to be kept for socially and educationally backward classes in terms of Art 341 of constitution of India only depressed ‘persons’/ groups from amongst the castes those practicing Hinduism/ no person who professes a religion different from the Hindu ( Clause – 3 of un amended C.O 19 of 1950) as per the prevailing caste system were named & kept in the schedule of castes (SC) for the purposes of reservations in the legislature.
No doubt later on those professing Sikhism or Bhudhism (the Sikh or the Buddhist ) too said that the caste system exists in them also where in there too exist socially & educationally backward classes and so later castes from among the Sikhs ( C.O 19 Clause 3 amended in 1956) and Bhudist were also included (C.O 19 Clause 3 Subs. by Act 15 of 1990, s. 2,) in SC . It has to be noted that reservations / benefits to Sikhs/ Bhudhist were not given separately as Bhudhist or Sikh but as member of SC like any one from the Hindu.
So in case Muslims and Christians too accept that social and educational backwardness existed in their society also worth making some people practicing Islam or Christianity still to suffer from ‘social discrimination’/ ‘oppression’ then such castes groups too could be included in the SC ( Art 341). Such reservation benefits will not be specifically for religious community but all socially and educationally depressed classes/ people irrespective of their religion would be grouped as one segment as SC for which present level of 15 % reservation could be raised to 18 % or so depending upon total volume of the depressed classes from amongst Hindu, Muslim, Bhudhist, Sikh.
True there is no provision as regards providing reservations based on religion in constitution of India and hence the reservations in legislature on that basis can not provided to Muslims or Christians as are provided presently to SC from amongst the religious communities other than Christians and Muslims.
As regards the Scheduled Tribe ( ST ) the reservations in the Legislature ( Article 342 of the Constitution of India) are provided to all Indian citizens including Muslim/ Christian {C.O 22 . Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 } irrespective of the social caste / sect/ religion / one being Hindu/ one being Muslim/ one being Christian/one being Brahmin/ orone being Kshatriye.
Similarly the reservations in services that are provided in terms of Art 335 to Backward Classes/ Other Backward classes are open to all religious communities and hence there too the Muslims/ Christians/ Sikh/ Bhudhist/ can take benefit where ever social backwardness exists.
To be continued…..
(The writer is Sr Journalist and social activist & analyst J&K affairs)

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