New Delhi: Pointing out that caste permeates every religion in India, Justice Rohinton F Nariman on Thursday observed that his religion, Zoorastrianism (Parsi), has been 'Hinduised'.
Sitting on a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice Nariman was responding to submissions being advanced by Attorney General KK Venugopal.
Venugopal, appearing for the Central government, was arguing in favour of reviewing the 2006 M Nagaraj judgment that laid down conditions before making reservation in promotion for SC/ST community.
The AG was contending how societies in India had multiplicity of castes and that it was not permissible to carve out a creamy layer among SC/ST community because they have been socially downtrodden for centuries.
When asked by Justice Kurian Joseph about intra-caste competitiveness among the SC/ST since some of them have come up, Venugopal said that these people would still be looked down upon by high castes and they will not allow marriages.
To this, Justice Sanjay K Kaul said that not marrying in some other caste is not restricted to SC/ST and that it was rampant in our society.
On his part, Justice Nariman, who is Parsi and is a priest, added that caste permeates every single religion in India.
"There is no caste in the mother country of my religion. But here, we have it. It doesn't matter there, where you are born, but here you have to take birth in a priestly family to become a priest. I couldn't have become a priest, if I was not born in a priestly family," he said.
Justice Nariman added: "To that extent, even my religion has been Hinduised".
The judge then also remarked about the church from which Justice Joseph belonged did not marry outside the 'gotra' for generations.
"It is only in the last two generations that this has been broken," said Justice Nariman.
Justice Joseph then quipped: "People have socially come up."
The arguments in the case are underway.