Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that a Dalit converting to Islam or Christianity would not receive reservation benefits and those who have converted to Islam or Christianity will also lose eligibility to contest parliamentary or assembly election from constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes.
In response to a question by BJP member G.V.L. Narasimha Rao in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, Prasad clarified that those who have adopted Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist faiths would be eligible for contesting from reserved seats and will enjoy reservation benefits. Prasad, however, made it clear that there exists a clear distinction between Dalits adopting Islam and Christianity with those choosing to remain Hindus.
Referring to the Para 3 of the Constitution, Prasad said Para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order defined the state-wise list of SC categories. According to this, a person who is not a Hindu, a Sikh or a Buddhist, will not be considered to be a member of the Scheduled Castes. Any person with a valid Scheduled Caste certificate is eligible to contest from reserved seats.
In 2015, the Supreme Court had said that when a person leaves Hinduism to become a Christian, then the person cannot be considered to belong to the Scheduled Castes category.
Recently, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj had raised a demand to snatch the quota benefits of those who leave Hinduism and become Christians. He had also claimed that some people convert from Hinduism to become Christians to take advantage of double reservation with fake certificates.