Feb 12, 2021
NEW DELHI: Dalit converts to Islam or Christianity will not be eligible for contesting parliamentary or assembly elections from constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC), and cannot claim other reservation benefits, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in response to a question in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
However, those adopting Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faiths would be eligible for contesting from SC reserved seats and getting other reservation benefits, Prasad clarified in response to a question from BJP member G V L Narasimha Rao.
Speaking on eligibility to contest from reserved constituencies, the minister said, “Para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order outlines that… no person who professes a religion different from Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste.”
The minister’s statement makes a clear distinction between Dalits adopting Islam and Christianity with those choosing to adopt Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism.
The Union law minister, however, clarified that there was no proposal to bring in any amendment in the Representation of the People Act to debar SCs/STs converting to Islam or Christianity from contesting parliamentary or assembly elections.