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Buddhism casteless, says HC, denies SC certificate to convert

TNN | Updated: Oct 18, 2018, 19:59 IST
Madras high court (File photo)
CHENNAI: Noting that Buddhism never recognised caste, the Madras high court has declined to grant Scheduled Caste status and reservation in jobs for a convert to the religion.
"There is no entry as Buddhist Adi Dravidar in the Scheduled Caste list prescribed under the Constitution. In the absence of any such notification, no such community certificate could be issued," said a division bench of Justice R Subbiah and R Pongiappan.
The issue pertains to the order passed by the Erode district collector dated August 24, 2017, rejecting the petitioner G J Tamilarasu's application for a community certificate as Buddhist Adi Dravidar.
Tamilarasu was born on December 5, 1970, to Christian parents who named him Victor Joseph J. For the sake of education, while he was in Class 11, he obtained a community certificate on June 12, 1989, describing him as Christian Adi Dravidar. Later, in 2015, he converted to Buddhism and changed his name to G J Tamilarasu.
On September 2, 2015, he applied for a community certificate identifying him as Buddhist Adi Dravidar. However, the authorities rejected his application on the ground that he had converted to Buddhism only to get certain benefits. The petitioner then approached the high court.
The petitioner quoted a government January 2, 2009, which he said allowed revenue authorities to issue scheduled caste community certificates to those who had reconverted from other religions if they were accepted by their community members.
Opposing this contention, the government said the petitioner was born to Christian parents and he had professed Christianity till April 2015 and the community was classified as backward class.
The authorities further submitted that there was no such entry as Buddhist Adi Dravidar in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976, and hence, the petitioner could not be issued such a certificate.

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