March 26, 2015

INDIA: The Supreme Court Ruled Poor Christians Who Reconvert To Hinduism Will Be Allowed To Receive Govt Welfare Assistance. Otherwise, Christian Poor Are Outcast.

The Indian Constitution
OUTLAWED castes more than 60 years ago.

"The Hindu caste system is in many ways almost an ideal example of the autarkic separation of various groups of each other. Each caste has its own proper moral and social code and there is no presumption that there is a correct, universal code for all - other than the universal principle of adherence to the norms of one's caste [...] Because status groups are grounded in exclusion that is enforced spontaneously by norms of exclusion, they are inherently communal. Their norms therefore cannot survive outside the relevant community" (Hardin 2001: 219).

Nevertheless it has to be mentioned that the caste system has formally been abolished by the Indian Constitution: "Article 17 abolished untouchability and its practice in any form, while Article 15 outlawed discrimination based on religion, caste, race, sex, or place of birth" (Montgomery 2001: 187).
The Indian Express
written by Utkarsh Anand in New Delhi
Friday February 27, 2015

Amid the controversy over “ghar wapsi”, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a person who “reconverts” from Christianity to Hinduism shall be entitled to reservation benefits if his forefathers belonged to a Scheduled Caste and the community accepts him after “reconversion”.

Citing articles by B R Ambedkar and James Massey, and reports by Mandal Commission and Chinappa Commission, the court said: “There has been detailed study to indicate the Scheduled Caste persons belonging to Hindu religion, who had embraced Christianity with some kind of hope or aspiration, have remained socially, educationally and economically backward.”

The bench of Justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda held that a person shall not be deprived of reservation benefits if he decides to “reconvert” to Hinduism and adopts the caste that his forefathers originally belonged to just because he was born to Christian parents or has a Christian spouse.

Expanding the scope of a previous Constitution bench judgment, the bench said the reservation benefits for the castes recognised under the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, could not be confined to only those whose parents had converted to Christianity. “If a person born to Christian parents, who had converted to Christianity from the Scheduled Caste Hindu, can avail the benefits of the caste certificate after embracing Hinduism, there cannot be any soundness of logic that he cannot avail similar benefits because his grandparents were converted and he was born to parents who were Christians,” it said.

The bench, however, said the person must fulfill three mandatory conditions to avail such benefits after “reconversion” — there must be clear proof that he belongs to a caste duly recognised as a Scheduled Caste, that he has “reconverted” to the original religion to which his parents or earlier generations belonged, and that he has been accepted by the community.

The bench further clarified that marriage to a Christian person would not entail disqualification. “As far as marriage is concerned, in our considered opinion, it should not have been considered as the central and seminal facet to deny the benefit. When the community has accepted and the community, despite the marriage, has not excommunicated or expelled, the same would not be a disqualification,” it said.

The court ruling came on an appeal filed by a person whose caste certificate was cancelled in 2006 by the scrutiny committee, set up under the Kerala (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Regulation of Issue of Community Certificates Act, on the ground that he was born to Christian parents and was not following the traditions of the community.

K P Manu’s great grandfather belonged to a Hindu community, and his grandfather converted to Christianity. Manu’s parents also practiced Christianity. However, when he was 24, Manu “reconverted” to Hinduism and got a caste certificate from the Akhila Bharata Ayyappa Seva Sangham — an institution recognised by the state government for issuing caste certificates.

He was employed in Malabar Cements, a state government undertaking. After his certificate was cancelled, the state administration ordered his removal from service and also sought to recover Rs 15 lakh paid as salary to him.

The bench, however, ruled in his favour, noting that he fulfilled all the three conditions required to avail the benefits. It ordered the state to reinstate Manu with all the benefits relating to his seniority and caste, and said he should be paid back wages up to 75 per cent within eight weeks.
Safeguards in the Indian Constitution for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) [source: University of Washington, School of International Studies; Student Handout, page 50]

The important Constitutional safeguards for SCs & STs are mentioned below:


Article 46
A comprehensive article comprising both the developmental and regulatory aspects. It reads as follows:
“The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections, of
the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from
social injustice and all forms of exploitation.”


Article 17
“Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability
arising out of “Untouchability” shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

Article 23
Prohibits traffic in human beings and beggars and other similar forms of forced labour and provides that any
contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law. It does not specifically
mention SCs & STs but since the majority of bonded labour belong to SCs/STs this Article has a special
significance for SCs and STs.

Article 24
Provides that no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or
engaged in any other hazardous employment. There are Central and State laws to prevent child labour. This
article too is significant for SCs and STs as a substantial portion, if not the majority, of child labour engaged in
hazardous employment belong to SCs and STs.

Article 25(2)(b)
Provides that Hindu religious institutions of a public character shall be thrown open to all classes and sections
of Hindus. This provision is relevant as some sects of Hindus used to claim that only members of the
concerned sects had a right to enter their temples. This was only a subterfuge to prevent entry of SC persons
in such temples. For the purpose of this provision the term Hindu includes Sikh, Jain and Buddhist.
Time Magazine
written by Nilanjana Bhowmick in New Delhi
July 17, 2014

One third of the world’s 1.2 billion poorest people live in India, according to the latest Millennium Development Goals report by the U.N.

India only managed to reduce its poverty rate (the ratio of the number of people who fall below the poverty line and a country’s total population) from 49.4% in 1994 to 42% in 2005 and 32.7% in 2010. By contrast, regional rival China brought it down from 60% in 1990 to an impressive 16% in 2005 and just 12% in 2010.

India also accounted for the highest number of under-five deaths in the world in 2012, with 1.4 million children not reaching their fifth birthday.

“We don’t have to be proud of what we’ve done,” admitted minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla to the Times Of India on Wednesday. “Poverty is the biggest challenge.”

No comments: