The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain a petition questioning a provision in the legislation that extends the benefits of reservation to Dalits converted to Buddhism.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan dismissed the PIL seeking annulment of the Constitutional (Scheduled Castes) Orders Amendment Act, 1990 providing reservation to Dalits converted to Buddhism.
The PIL filed by R H Boudh had contended that bringing the converted Buddhist in the fold of caste-based reservation amounted to defeating the purpose of their conversion.
"We are treated as the same lower caste people of the Hindu religion, to escape from which we had converted to Buddhism," the petitioner submitted adding that the Buddhist community did not need reservation as it would mean converting the religion of Buddhism into a caste.
By providing reservation as Dalit, the stigma of caste cannot be removed despite adopting a religion which did not recognise any caste system or discrimination on grounds of any such caste, the petitioner submitted.
However, the Bench said it cannot interfere on the issue as "this is a caste right that cannot be done away by individual challenge".
It asked the petitioner to make a representation before the appropriate authority as "it is a matter of government policy and courts cannot interfere in it".