Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Avoid ‘Dalit’ word in of­fi­cial use, says HC

- Shruti To­mar shruti.to­mar@hin­dus­tan­times.com (With in­puts from Ma­hesh Shivhare in Gwalior) India News · Discrimination · Politics · Justice · Human Rights · Society · Law · Bhopal · Gwalior · Madhya Pradesh · India · Hizb ut-Tahrir · Haryana · Haryana · Ambala · Gurugram · Punjab · Chandigarh · Casteism · Mohanlal · Ashok Kumar · Rohtak · Hisar District · Ram Nath Kovind

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.”

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