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Monday, June 5, 2023

Is the Judiciary giving a green flag to crypto-Christianity and abuse of SC status?

SC status being abused by converted Christians is a matter of grave concern. Such misuse is being apparently encouraged by the judiciary is even more worrisome. A Madras High Court order holding that ‘going to Church or displaying Holy Cross cannot be ground to cancel SC certificate’ appears to be a step towards green flagging misuse of SC status and covertly encouraging crypto-Christianity.

HC quashes SC status cancellation order

Madras HC’s Madurai bench quashed the order passed by a scrunity committee canceling the woman’s SC status certificate. The court opined that simply following Christian practices cannot be reason enough to cancel one’s SC status. It also termed the move ‘bureaucratic madness’ while advising the committee to approach such matters with a ‘broad mindset’ in the future.

The 2016 petition by P Muneeswari, who is a doctor hailing from Ramanathapuram, had sought quashing of the district collector’s 2013 order cancelling her SC caste certificate. Muneeswari was born in the Hindu Pallan community and later married a Christian. She supposedly agreed to raise her children as Christians and even attended the Church in addition to displaying the cross on her clinic wall.

The division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice M Duraiswamy were, however, critical of the committee who they held had ‘assumed’ she had converted to Christianity after seeing some Christian symbols. As per reports, the committee had held that she had converted to Christianity since officials who visited her clinic found the Christian cross hanging on the wall. Subsequently, the committee held that she was not qualified to hold the Hindu pallan community SC status.

While passing the order, the court observed:

There is no suggestion in the affidavit that she has abandoned her faith or that she has embraced Christianity. It is possible that the petitioner accompanied her husband and children for Sunday matins, but the mere fact that a person goes to church does not mean she abandoned the faith born into.

Nothing may be presumed upon a member of a particular community respecting another community or another religion and, indeed, that is the Constitutional mandate and not otherwise.

Citing that the authorities had taken the decision on the basis of assumptions, the court quashed the district collector’s order and directed the authorities to restore Muneeswari’s caste certificate with immediate effect.

Earlier, the Andhra HC had made a similar bizarre observation regarding who is a Christian While striking down the quo warranto petition filed before it regarding AP CM Jagan Reddy, a practicing Christian, not declaring his faith during his visit to the Tirumala Tirupati Mandir. The bench led by Justice B Devanand said that the petitioner could not prove that the CM is a Christian or that he is practicing the Christian faith. Further, it said the petitioner’s contention that the CM attending Christian meetings or offering prayer in a Church means that he is a Christian is not acceptable.

It was the further observation made by the court with regards to who is a Christian that is not just bizarre but also untenable. It had said back then, “if a person is known after a name found in the Bible, attended a Christian meeting, read the Holy Bible, and kept the Cross in his house, all these cannot be construed to mean he’s a Christian.”

Centre says converted Christians can’t derive SC scheme benefits

In August, the Central government had responded to a question in the Parliament stating that any person professing a religion other than Hindu Dharma, Sikhism or Buddhism shall not be deemed as a member of the SC community. Thereby the said person would be ineligible to draw benefits of centrally sponsored schemes meant for the SC community.

As per a report, in Andhra Pradesh 80 percent of the Christian converts come from the SC community who have been enjoying benefits including allotment of land/house, free electricity, and loans meant to benefit the Hindu SCs.

With such blatant misuse of SC benefits already afoot, the recent HC ruling would only encourage crypto-Christianity if it goes unchallenged in view of the fact that Hindu Dharma doesn’t demand display of one’s religiosity like Abrahamic religions demand of their adherents.

As pointed out by Swarajya Mag:

If a woman marries a Christian and apparently agrees to raise her children as Christian, and hangs a cross in her workplace, has she not effectively decided that the faith of her husband matters more than her own in such matters? At the very least, this is patriarchy masquerading as religious freedom. And we know how the church makes a big issue of raising the children of mixed-faith marriages to sign affidavits in which the Hindu partner can retain his or her faith as long as she/he agrees to a Christian upbringing for their children. This is ‘love jihad‘, Christian style.

Furthermore, by saying that the conduct of the authorities portrays ‘narrow-mindedness’ the judiciary seems to be encouraging crypto-Christianity giving Christian converts the license to follow their ‘new faith’ while claiming benefits meant for Hindu SCs. If hanging the Cross, praying to Jesus, and going to Church doesn’t make one a Christian, then what does?

Such judgements need to be challenged since they put the Hindu identity itself at stake while allowing converts to draw benefits they aren’t entitled to and are actually a shot in the arm for the conversion lobby.

(Featured Image Source: Swarajya Mag)

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