New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) The Supreme Court today soughta response from the government on a petition seeking inclusionof nomadic and semi-nomadic communities in the ongoing census.
A bench of justices J M Panchal and H L Gokhale issuednotice to the Centre on the plea for inclusion of Denotified,Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DTNT) communities in thecensus.
There are an estimated 700 communities in the countrywhich claim to be DTNT. Out of them only 50-60 communities arelisted either as SCs or STs, the petition has claimed.
According to the petition, these communities continueto be neglected as they were earlier considered to be"criminals or untouchables".
The petition filed by one Mohan Dhansing Chavhan,through counsel Nitin Meshram, has submitted thatnon-inclusion of the DTNTs in the ongoing census takes thefocus away from their socio-economic plight.
Accusing the government for neglecting thecommunities, the petitioner has said, "The state isperpetrating the hidden apartheid against the DTNT communitiesand, therefore, it is not enumerating them in the ongoingcensus."
He has said their enumeration would enable thegovernment formulate special programmes and welfare schemesfor the oppressed communities on the lines of the benefitsbeing enjoyed by the SCs and STs.
"They are the destitutes without any permanent abodeto live. They do not have land, education, skill and knowledgeof the present day advanced world and millions of them aresick and malnourished," the petition has said, adding, "DTNTare the neglected communities. They are under the stigma ofcriminality and untouchability by birth since pre-independenttime." PTI AAC RB