SC junks plea challenging I&B ministry’s ban on using word ‘Dalit’
New Delhi, Feb 18: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea which challenged the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B)'s order asking the media to refrain from using the word "Dalit".
The I&B ministry's order issued in August, 2017, had advised media companies to use only the Constitutional term, 'Scheduled Caste', and not 'Dalit', citing an order of the Bombay High Court.
Dalit rights groups had then opposed the I&B ministry's order, asserting that the term holds political significance and a sense of identity.
The petition filed in the apex court by individuals and organisations working in the field of protection and promotion of the cause of Dalits, submitted that the government's circular was arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable, discriminatory and contrary to Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, said reports. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for the petitioner.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said it was not interested in entertaining a petition that challenged the 2018 advisory of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, reported PTI.
Appearing for petitioner V A Ramesh Nathan, Sibal questioned the legality of the circular and said, "How can the Government of India issue such a circular questioning my identity". The bench remained unimpressed and said, "At this stage, we are not interested in entertaining this petition. Dismissed."
In March 2018, the Ministry of Social Justice too had issued a similar advisory to all the State governments and Union Territories that in all official transactions, the constitutional term "Scheduled Caste" should be used instead of the word "Dalit".