No reservation for Dalits who converted to Islam and Christianity: Prasad


The Central Government has clearly stated in the Rajya Sabha that Dalits who convert to Islam and Christianity will not get the benefit of reservation. In a written reply to the question of BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that those who are adopting another religion will have to give up the benefit of reservation. Also, such people will not be able to contest parliamentary or assembly elections from the seats reserved for scheduled castes.

On the question of the BJP member, Prasad said, "Those who leave Hinduism, and adopt Sikh and Buddhism, will continue to get the benefit of reservation." These people will also be able to contest from the seat reserved for Scheduled Castes. Prasad cited paragraph three of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, which defines the state-wise list of SC classes. According to this, a person who claims himself to be separate from Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhism is not considered a member of the Scheduled Castes.

A question was asked in the House whether the government was considering any amendment to the Representation of People Act and the Election Rules which made it clear that Dalits who converted to Christianity or Islam would not be eligible to contest from reserved seats. On this, the Law Minister said, no such proposal is under consideration with the government. It may be noted that in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that when a person converts to Hinduism and becomes a Christian, he is not considered as belonging to the Scheduled Castes.