The Government today said it is not in favour of bringing Dalits of Christian and Muslim communities under the ambit of reservation for the Scheduled Castes.
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot said this during a discussion on a Bill to include more castes under SC category in four states and exclude one from it in Sikkim which was passed by the Parliament today.
"We are not agreeable to it," Gehlot said referring to a demand by some members in the Upper House to include Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in reservation for SCs.
Citing a case in the Supreme Court in this regard, the Minister said that discussions can happen based on its outcome.
Responding to demands from several parties on extending reservation in the private sector, Gehlot said this demand has been there for the last 15 years and it would be looked into.
Gehlot was replying to matters raised by members during the discussion on the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014 which has been passed by the Lok Sabha earlier. Rajya Sabha also passed the Bill by a voice vote with most parties supporting it.
The Bill was first tabled in 2012 but lapsed after the previous Lok Sabha was dissolved and the BJP government introduced it August in Lok Sabha.
Gehlot sought to address members' concerns, saying that diversion of funds from Scheduled Castes Special Component Plan is an important issue and such a practice is not desirable.
Earlier, in the discussion over the Bill, P L Punia (Congress) supported the legislation and said that the population of those in the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) has increased and the percentage of reservation should also be increased in the same proportion.
Punia advocated extending reservations for these sections in private sector as well as the judiciary.
AIADMK member K Arjunan sought to highlight the demand to include Dalit Christians in the list of Scheduled Castes. Husain Dalwai (Congress) sought reservation benefits for Dalit-Muslims saying discrimination on the basis of caste is not confined to only one religion.
Tarun Vijay (BJP) and D Bandyopadhyay (TMC) supported the Bill. Bandyopadhyay said that the Centre should bring out a comprehensive plan for the development of weaker sections adding that at present efforts only constitute disjointed schemes. Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (SP) and Anil Kumar Sahani (JD-U) also participated in the debate.
BJP member Nanda Kumar Sai demanded strict regulations to eliminate fake community certificates and recording the names of communities in officials records in Hindi and regional languages as well to avoid spelling mistakes.
Dilip Kumar Tirkey (BJD), D Raja (CPI), Ambeth Rajan (BSP), Chaudhary Munavvar Saleem (SP) were among those who shared their views.