Raj HC directs against mention of person’s caste in judicial matters

The notification states that the practice of mentioning caste in court documents is against the spirit of constitution

casteImage Courtesy:indianexpress.com

The Rajasthan High Court has issued a notification on April 27, in connection with a controversy arising out of mention of caste in a judicial order. The notification states that mentioning an individual’s caste is against the spirit of constitution and is also contrary to a direction issued by the High court 2 years ago. The notification points out that the caste of the accused and other persons is being mentioned by the Registry and presiding officers of subordinate courts and Tribunals in the state in judicial and administrative matters. The notification gives directions as follows:

“Therefore it is enjoined upon all concerned to ensure that the caste of any person including accused is not incorporated in any judicial or administrative matter.”

This notification was warranted by an order dated April 24, given by Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma who had adjourned a bail application hearing since the counsel was not wearing proper uniform during the video conference hearing. In the cause title of this order, the caste of the accused was mentioned next to him which drew a lot of criticism. A lawyer, Amit Pai, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India in this regard which pointed out the regressive practice of mentioning caste of party in court filings. While urging the CJI to abolish the practice of mentioning caste in judicial documents, he stated in his letter that this practice undoes the salient principle of equality and further stated that “caste has no place in our system of law and the constitution”.

The High Court’s standing order may be read here:


Interestingly, there is a statue of Manu outside the Rajasthan High Court. Manu is known as the author of Manusmriti which codified the rights and duties of social groups and thus was born the caste system. Recently, four people were arrested after they smeared black paint on this statue, which has been standing in the premises of the court since 3 decades. In fact, an order was also passed by the court to remove the idol but a PIL filed by a VHP leader put a halt on the same. The justification for the statue is that it is believed that Manu was the first person to have drafted a law.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had written the book ‘annihilation of caste’ and he was staunchly against the caste system that created a divide in the society. Hence, the directions given by the Rajasthan High Court are absolutely welcome and should be replicated by other courts of law, mainly the apex court.


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