Published On : Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

High Court notice to Govt over use of word ‘Dalit’

nagpur high court
The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on Monday has issued notices to Centre and Maharashtra Government on a PIL seeking direction on prohibiting use of word ‘Dalit’ in official matters as well as in media and other public places.

During the hearing on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Pankaj Meshram stating the use of word ‘Dalit’ as unconstitutional, a Division Bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Atul Chandurkar issued notices to Government and sought reply within three weeks. “Even Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, had opposed usage of word ‘Dalit,’ Meshram stated in his PIL.

Further, the social activist Pankaj Meshra, in his PIL, referred to the judgments of Supreme Court and Chief Justices of different courts in this regard. The Madras High Court had also agreed and termed the use of word ‘Dali’ by Tamilnadu Government as unconstitutional. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes is also of the opinion that the word shows discrimination and casteism. “The use of word ‘Dalit’ violates Articles 14, 15, 16, 17, 21 and 341 of Indian Constitution. The Governments many times assured to remove the word from official documents and schemes but it has not happened yet. Instead of using the word ‘Dalit’, the word Scheduled Caste or Neo Buddha could be used,” the PIL argued.

The PIL has made Joint Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Joint Secretary of Press Council of India, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra State, Principal Secretary of Urban Development Department as respondents. The High Court has issued notices to all these respondents and sought their replies within three weeks.