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Friday, November 24, 2006

Dalits who have converted to Buddhism eligible to apply under SC Quota

The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) to delete a clause in its notification, wherein Dalits who had converted to Buddhism were declared not eligible for benefits under the Scheduled Castes category. The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice K. Chandru, gave the direction on a public interest litigation petition filed by I. Elangovan, Head of the Department of English, Voorhees College, Vellore.

The TNPSC invited applications for 229 posts of assistants and 190 personal clerks in the Tamil Nadu Secretariat Service and 82 assistants and seven personal clerk posts in the TNPSC. The examination is scheduled to be held on January 7, 2007. The last date for submitting applications was October 18.

In its general instructions, the TNPSC specifically stated that a member of the Scheduled Castes on conversion to Buddhism would not be entitled to the concessions admissible to Adi Dravida (Hindus).

Prof. Elangovan submitted that by way of a constitutional amendment in 1990 the Centre had declared that Dalits embracing Buddhism too were eligible for all benefits under the SC category. Acceding to the submissions, the Bench asked the TNPSC to delete the impugned clause and publish a new advertisement calling for applications from Dalit-Buddhists.

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