Madras High Court rejects Buddhist Adi Dravidar convert’s request seeking SC/ST status

The bench observed that Buddhism had never appreciated the fact of ‘caste’ in its ideologies and preaching. That being the case, the question of issuing a community certificate did not arise.

Published: 18th October 2018 08:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2018 08:18 AM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court

Madras High Court (File Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Buddhist Adi Dravidar caste does not find a place in the ‘Presidential Order’ and hence, it cannot be included in the list of SC/STs, the Madras High Court has ruled. A division bench of Justices R Subbiah and R Pongiappan gave the ruling while upholding an order of the Erode District Collector rejecting a plea from G J Tamilarasu, B Ed, who had converted from Christianity to Buddhism, to direct the authorities to issue a community certificate to him as a Buddhist Adi Dravidar.

The bench observed that Buddhism had never appreciated the fact of ‘caste’ in its ideologies and preaching. This is the reason behind Buddhism’s own significance. When this being the factor, the petitioner’s claim of conversion to Buddhism was of little significance. That being the case, the question of issuing a community certificate indicating the community/caste as ‘Buddhist Adi Dravidar’ did not arise, the bench added.

According to petitioner, he was born to Christian parents. For the sake of education, while he was studying in XI standard, he had obtained a community certificate as Christian Adi Dravidar. Thereafter he completed his M.A and B.Ed degrees in 2007. Later, he converted to Buddhism as he was drawn towards its doctrine due to its religious customs and practices. The name change was also notified in the TN government gazette. Thereafter, he applied for issuance of a community certificate saying he is belonging to the Buddhist Adi Dravidar community.

Rejecting the plea, the bench said the petitioner was mainly staking his claim based on a 2009 GO. On a careful perusal of the order, it was of the opinion that it applied only to the persons who had reconverted to their original community/religion. The question of re-conversion was not the case here, as the petitioner has just converted to Buddhism and not re-converted to Hinduism.

Admittedly, the ancestors of petitioner did not belong to Buddhism. If the ancestors of a person belonging to Hinduism got converted to Christianity and their descendants continued in Christianity for two or three generations and later, reconverted to Hinduism and were accepted by Hindu community, then only the GO would become applicable and they could get status of the particular community, court said.

In the instant case, originally the petitioner’s family was professing Hinduism. Then, they converted to Christianity and the petitioner, in particular, got converted to third religion -- Buddhism. Therefore, he was skipping from one religion to another, which would not give the benefit of claiming the status of Buddhist Adi Dravidar, the bench said.

Reason behind Buddhism’s significance
The bench observed that Buddhism had never appreciated the fact of ‘caste’ in its ideologies and preaching. This is the reason behind Buddhism’s own significance. When this being the factor, the petitioner’s claim of conversion to Buddhism was of little significance. That being the case, the question of issuing a community certificate indicating the community/caste as ‘Buddhist Adi Dravidar’ did not arise, the bench said.

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