Dalit leader and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has said that he will move the Supreme Court against the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s recent advisory asking media houses to refrain from using word Dalit in their reports and use only the Constitutional term, ‘Scheduled Caste’. Athawale whose Republican Party of India (A) is a constituent of the ruling BJP-led NDA, said that ‘it is not only unjust but also undemocratic’. Athawale added that he will make sure that the advisory issued by the I&B Ministry is put on hold and there is no restriction on the use of word ‘Dalit’ by everyone including individuals and
“The terms Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe are already in use in the government records and we are of the view that the word ‘Dalit’ should be used. Republican Party of India will approach the Supreme Court to challenge the advisory directing against the use of the word ‘Dalit’,” Athawale, MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment, said today.
Earlier, speaking to The Indian Express, Athawale had said that the word Dalit has a larger socio-economic significance. According to him, the word doesn’t depict any caste, community or religion, but it incorporates and accommodates the larger socio-economical backwardness, beyond an individual’s caste, community and religion.
“Therefore, it has to be perceived through the social spectrum,” he had said.
Earlier this month, the I&B Ministry had issued an advisory urging television channels to refrain from using nomenclature ‘Dalit’ for people belonging to Scheduled Castes. The Ministry while referring to the June order by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court had stated: “Constitutional term Scheduled Caste and its appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for all official transactions, matters, dealings, certificates, etc. for denoting the persons belonging to Scheduled Castes”.