The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday said that the word “Dalit” must not be used in official communication of the state and central governments. The court suggested the use of the phrases “scheduled castes” or “scheduled tribes” instead, the Hindustan Times reported.
“State and central governments should refrain from using this nomenclature Dalit, as it doesn’t find any mention in the Constitution of India or statute,” the court’s Gwalior bench said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by social activist Mohan Lal Mohar in December against the use of the word in official and unofficial government communications.
“The word Dalit is derogatory and this term was coined by upper castes to insult the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes,” the petition was quoted as saying. “Even the father of Indian Constitution, BR Ambedkar, found the word Dalit an inappropriate one.”