Responding to a question Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in Rajya Sabha said that Dalits converting to Islam or Christianity cannot claim reservation benefits and the conversion also deprives the person of the eligibility to contest parliamentary or Assembly election from constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC). ALSO READ | Shiv Sena Attacks Bhagat Singh Koshiyari In Saamana , Says ‘Governor Acting Like Puppet Of BJP’
Prasad was replying to a question from BJP member G.V.L. Narasimha Rao when he clarified that those who have adopted Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faiths are eligible for contesting from SC reserved seats and getting other reservation benefits. He then talked about the aspect of eligibility for fighting an election from reserved constituencies.
It was explained that according to Para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 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 then stated that there was no proposal to bring in an amendment in the Representation of People Act to debar SC/STs converted to either Islam or Christianity from fighting polls: parliamentary or Assembly elections.
In 2015, the Supreme Court had ruled that once a person converts from Hinduism and becomes a Christian, the social and economic disabilities arising because of Hindu religion cease, making it is no longer necessary to give the person protection and for this reason, he/she is deemed not to belong to a Scheduled Caste.
Prasad, in his response, made it clear that there exists a clear distinction between Dalits adopting Islam and Christianity with those choosing to adopt Hinduism.
News source : Abp Live