Hindustan Times (Delhi)
Avoid ‘Dalit’ word in official use, says HC
BHOPAL: The use of term ‘Dalit’ has been banned by the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court as ‘the same does not find mention in the Constitution of India or any statute’.
The court delivered its judgment on a petition filed by a social activist Mohan Lal Mohor, who comes from a Scheduled Caste (SC) background. Through his petition, Mohor urged the court to put a ban on the use of the word in official communications as it is derogatory.
The judgment was delivered on January 15. However, it came to light only this week. A copy of the order is available with HT.
Disposing of the petition, the double bench of justice Sanjay Yadav and justice Ashok Kumar Joshi said, “However, we have no manner of doubt the central government/state government and its functionaries would refrain from using the nomenclature ‘Dalit’ for members belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as the same does not find mentioned in the Constitution of India or any statute.”
As per the judgment order, the petitioner urged the court to direct the governments to prohibit use of word ‘Dalit’ by government/non-government organisations and make penal provisions against use of the term.
The bench said, “The counsel for the petitioner has brought on record the communication on behalf of chief secretary, government of Haryana, dated 29.1.2008 addressed to all head of departments, commissioners, Ambala, Rohtak, Gurgaon & Hisar divisions and the registrar, Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, all the deputy commissioners & sub division officers (civil) in Haryana state informing about ban of using the ‘Dalit’ word as interchangeable with ‘SCS’.”
“In the case at hand, as the petitioner fails to bring on record any documents issued by the functionaries of central government/ state government to use ‘Dalit’ as interchangeable with ‘SCS/STS’, we are not inclined to cause any indulgence,” said the bench.
But the court delivered its judgment, saying “the central government/state government and its functionaries would refrain from using the nomenclature ‘Dalit’ for members belonging to SCS and STS”.
Mohar, also a spokesperson of Akhil Bharitya Koli Samaj, said, “After the appointment of Ram Nath Kovind as President, the use of ‘Dalit’ has increased. This is very insulting to our community. We will ask the government to make a law against using words like Dalit and Shudra for SCS.”
MP Anusuchit Jati Janjati Adhikari Karmachari Sangh (AJJAKS) office bearers welcomed the order. Dhyanendra Gorkar, its secretary, said, “When our Constitution didn’t have any mention of ‘Varn Vyavstha’ (caste system), why are governments and other organisations using the term Dalit?”
But Bappusaheb Bhosale, president, Dalit Panther of India, said, “The Constitution defined Dalit as a person who suffers from social atrocities. Why are people ashamed of it? If people want to do something, they should file a PIL against the caste system, not against a word.”