Athawale To Move Supreme Court Against Ban On Using 'Dalit' Term, Says It's Not Offensive

| September 6 , 2018 , 09:10 IST

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and chief of the Republican Party of India (RPI) Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday said that the RPI would move the Supreme Court to challenge the directive from the Ministry of Information and Broadcast advising the media to not use the term 'Dalit' and instead use the term 'Scheduled Castes'.

"On behalf of the Republican Party, we will go to the Supreme Court and challenge the Bombay High Court's decision to ban the usage of the word 'Dalit' because it isn't offensive. It is wrong to ban its usage," Athawale said.

"We respect the court, even our ministry had issued a directive to use the word 'Scheduled Caste' instead of 'Dalit' in official documents, but it is not right to stop the media from using the word," he said.

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He said that the Dalit community had objections to the word 'Harijan' which was used by Mahatma Gandhi but the word was not banned.

"The Dalit community were treated unfairly and called Harijans at the same time. Mahatma Gandhiji's intentions were noble but the Dalit community had issues with being called that word. There shouldn't be any problems with the word 'Dalit' as well. We'll go to the Supreme Court and challenge the ban," Athawale said.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in a directive quoted on Tuesday has asked media to "refrain from using the nomenclature Dalit" and instead use the Constitutional term ‘Scheduled Caste’ to refer to those from the Dalit community

“It is accordingly advised that media may refrain from using the nomenclature ‘Dalit’ while referring to members belonging to Scheduled Castes, in compliance with the directions of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court, and the Constitutional term ‘Scheduled Caste’ in English and its appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for all official transaction,” the I&B order said.