Conversion to Islam should not block benefits: court

April 12, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Chennai, April 10, 2014: Denial of BC community certificate to converted Muslims amounts to deprivation of fundamental rights, the judge said.

Madras High CourtA member of backward class is entitled to get all the welfare benefits meant for Backward Classes even after conversion to Islam, the Madras High Court has ruled.

The court also ordered the Tamil Nadu government to instruct officials to issue backward class (BC) community certificates to people who embrace Islam.

“I have no hesitation to come to the conclusion that a person belonging to Hindu backward class community, on conversion to Islam, would get the benefit of backward class status if the person is covered under List III of the government order no. 85,” said Justice D Hariparanthaman on Wednesday.

The list contains seven sects of ‘backward class’ Muslims. They are: Ansar, Dekkani Muslims, Dudekula, Labbais (including Rawthar and Marakayar speaking Tamil or Urdu), Mapilla, Sheik and Syed, the judge pointed out.

Justice Hariparanthaman criticized government communications sent in February 2010 and August 2012 asking collectors not to issue BC certificates to converted Muslims.

Describing it as persecution of Muslims and akin to ‘untouchability’ practised on dalits, the judge said, “Denial of BC community certificate to converted Muslims amounts to deprivation of fundamental rights.”

The judge was passing orders on a petition filed by M U Aariffaa, who was a Nadar (a BC community) before her conversion to Islam in 2006.

She approached the court when officials denied her government jobs reserved for backward classes on the ground that her conversion disqualifies her.

While accepting amicus curiae M Ajmalkhan’s stance that there is no such a thing as ‘converted’ Muslim, Justice Hariparanthaman disagreed with his claim that unlike in the case of Christianity, a convert’s original caste status is erased on embracing Islam.

The judge also flayed the Tamil Nadu Backward Class Commission for its stand that no convert to Islam is entitled to get BC community certificate and that all such existing certificates are bogus.

“The view expressed by the commission has no basis and it has to be rejected, as it would result in the denial of community certificates to all converts to Islam,” Justice Hariparanthaman said.

The court directed the government to offer Aariffaa the job for which she had qualified.

– times of India

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