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Madras HC allows display boards that mention caste names

Says that every individual has the freedom and choice to put up display boards as long as it is not offensive or obscene

Sabrangindia 08 Mar 2021

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

While observing that caste system is forbidden, the Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice R. Hemalatha of the Madras High Court held that “private individuals have got the freedom and choice to put up display-boards or other material (including caste names) according to their wishes as long as they are not obscene or offensive.”

The Bench was hearing a plea filed by the petitioner who sought for directions to the State to eradicate the caste names which are used in front of the Educational Institutions, Shops and other establishments.

The court said, “While the petitioner’s sentiment may be appreciated, it is difficult for courts to control the activities undertaken by certain individuals unless such activities are downright illegal or criminal.”

At the outset, the court clarified that the continuation of the caste system under the constitutional scheme of things is “completely forbidden”, but people are free to use their caste names.

“However, there is also an element of freedom and choice left to the private individuals to put up display-boards or other material according to their wishes as long as they are not obscene or offensive”, said the court.

Recently, a Delhi court had directed the registration of an FIR against Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) for including a caste abusive question in an examination held in October 2018. In the examination held for appointing Primary Teacher, a question about gender of caste (chamar) was asked in the Hindi comprehensive section.

Thereafter, again in Primary Teacher examination held in 2019, the question was asked about gender of Scheduled Caste (bhangi) [the question was as to what was the gender of Bhangi; four options as (a) Bhangin (b) Bhangi (c) Bhangia (d) Bhangin].

The court held that prima facie the complaint discloses offences committed under the SC/ST Act and thus directed that an FIR be registered against the offenders and an investigation be conducted by the Officer empowered under the Act with monthly report to be filed before the court as per Supreme Court judgement in Sakiri Vasu vs. State of UP (2008).

The State of Rajasthan has also made some amends to eradicate casteism by bringing about a notification on February 2 this year, disallowing discrimination inside jails based on caste and religion. This notification had been issued as a positive step, in response to Rajasthan High Court’s direction to apprise the court regarding the proposed steps for complete overhauling of the Prison Manual and “to ensure that the prisoners are not forced to indulge in menial jobs like cleaning toilets etc. merely on the basis of their caste and also that no under trial prisoner is forced to perform such jobs in the prison.”

The Madras HC order may be read here

Related:

How to talk about caste and casteism
Delhi court directs FIR against caste-abusive terms in DSSSB questions paper
Rajasthan Govt amends Prison rules to prohibit religion & caste-based discrimination
Haryana: Man stabbed by brothers-in-law for inter caste marriage

Madras HC allows display boards that mention caste names

Says that every individual has the freedom and choice to put up display boards as long as it is not offensive or obscene

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

While observing that caste system is forbidden, the Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice R. Hemalatha of the Madras High Court held that “private individuals have got the freedom and choice to put up display-boards or other material (including caste names) according to their wishes as long as they are not obscene or offensive.”

The Bench was hearing a plea filed by the petitioner who sought for directions to the State to eradicate the caste names which are used in front of the Educational Institutions, Shops and other establishments.

The court said, “While the petitioner’s sentiment may be appreciated, it is difficult for courts to control the activities undertaken by certain individuals unless such activities are downright illegal or criminal.”

At the outset, the court clarified that the continuation of the caste system under the constitutional scheme of things is “completely forbidden”, but people are free to use their caste names.

“However, there is also an element of freedom and choice left to the private individuals to put up display-boards or other material according to their wishes as long as they are not obscene or offensive”, said the court.

Recently, a Delhi court had directed the registration of an FIR against Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) for including a caste abusive question in an examination held in October 2018. In the examination held for appointing Primary Teacher, a question about gender of caste (chamar) was asked in the Hindi comprehensive section.

Thereafter, again in Primary Teacher examination held in 2019, the question was asked about gender of Scheduled Caste (bhangi) [the question was as to what was the gender of Bhangi; four options as (a) Bhangin (b) Bhangi (c) Bhangia (d) Bhangin].

The court held that prima facie the complaint discloses offences committed under the SC/ST Act and thus directed that an FIR be registered against the offenders and an investigation be conducted by the Officer empowered under the Act with monthly report to be filed before the court as per Supreme Court judgement in Sakiri Vasu vs. State of UP (2008).

The State of Rajasthan has also made some amends to eradicate casteism by bringing about a notification on February 2 this year, disallowing discrimination inside jails based on caste and religion. This notification had been issued as a positive step, in response to Rajasthan High Court’s direction to apprise the court regarding the proposed steps for complete overhauling of the Prison Manual and “to ensure that the prisoners are not forced to indulge in menial jobs like cleaning toilets etc. merely on the basis of their caste and also that no under trial prisoner is forced to perform such jobs in the prison.”

The Madras HC order may be read here

Related:

How to talk about caste and casteism
Delhi court directs FIR against caste-abusive terms in DSSSB questions paper
Rajasthan Govt amends Prison rules to prohibit religion & caste-based discrimination
Haryana: Man stabbed by brothers-in-law for inter caste marriage

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