Legal Correspondent

They are also facing social discrimination: PIL

Unlike Hindu counterparts, Muslim Khatiks are denied benefit

Identify and include Muslim Arzals in SC category

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the 1950 Presidential Order providing quotas for Scheduled Castes only in Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

On Friday, a Bench consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran issued the notice, returnable in four weeks, on a public interest litigation petition filed by the Akhil Maharashtra Muslim Khatik Samaj.

The petitioner said there were Arzals (Dalits) in the Muslim community who also needed reservation. Though Hindu Khatiks (those who slaughter animals) were included in the SC category, Muslim Khatiks were denied the benefit despite being their being on the same social strata and facing similar discrimination.

On Tuesday the court granted the Centre eight weeks to file its response to similar petitions filed by Christian organisations and individuals seeking extension of reservation to Dalits within their community. The Samaj pointed out that the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee and the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities headed by the former Chief Justice of India Rangnath Misra had recommended de-linking of religion from the issue of SCs and that the quota be extended to Dalits of all religions. There was need to identify and include Muslim Arzals such as Khatiks, Mehters, Bhangis, Lalbegis, Halakhors, Mochis, Mukris and Garudis in the SC category.