Socio-religious Organization Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has approached the Supreme Court challenging the exclusion of Muslim community from benefits granted to Scheduled caste people.

"In our society, the truth of the caste system cannot be denied. The effect of the society is inevitable on all the religious communities it inhabits", the group says in the petition it has filed for impleading in the writ petition filed by the Center for Public Interest Litigation in the year 2004 challenging paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders, 1950.

It is stated in the petition that the rationale for not including Muslims in Para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders, 1950 and not granting SC status to Muslims lies in the argument that Islam is a caste-less religion falls flat when the members of the same Muslim community are regarded as Other Backward Class on the basis of their caste.

The organization has sought to be added as a party to a plea challenging Paragraph 3 of Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders, 1950 by which Scheduled Castes people converting faith in religions different from Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism are deprived Scheduled Caste benefits.

The petition has claimed that it violates their fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution.

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, in an application filed through Advocate MR Shamshad, has submitted that while the constitution expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, the Constitution Order of 1950 discriminates among SCs on the basis of religion by depriving non-Hindus (except Sikhs and Buddhists) of benefits prescribed under law for SCs.

It was stated that a person belonging to SC is provided benefits if he is a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist, however, if the person is Muslim, he will not be provided those benefits. It was further added that this distinction is arbitrary.

It was further stated that denial of Scheduled Caste status to SC Muslims deprives them of political, educational and other benefits given to non-Muslim and non-Christian SC persons is a calculated historical wrong to restrain free profession, practice and propagation of religion.

The intervener also added that the inclusion of Muslims within the list of SCs would increase the participation of the Muslim community in political, educational and employment sectors.

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