The United Kingdom has concluded that it does not need a separate law against caste discrimination among Indians in the country. Emerging case law is sufficient to provide necessary protection against discrimination, the Equalities Office said on Monday.
In March 2017, the government had sought public opinion on ways to ensure legal protection against caste discrimination. The consultation ran till September 2017. It released the conclusions of the public consultation on Monday.
The conclusion report noted “the extremely low numbers” of such cases and said that introducing caste as a “self-standing element” into UK law was “clearly controversial”.
“Having given careful and detailed consideration to the findings of the consultation, the government believes that the best way to provide the necessary protection against unlawful discrimination because of caste is by relying on emerging case law as developed by courts and tribunals,” the government said.
“We were not persuaded by the argument that introducing explicit legislation into domestic law was the most appropriate and proportionate way to provide the necessary legal protection against discrimination because of caste,” the conclusion report said.
In 2013, the House of Lords had voted in favour of outlawing caste discrimination after a long campaign by UK-based Dalit groups. The matter has deeply divided the Indian community in the UK.
“The government has sent a depressing message to the Dalits that their cause is not important as they continue to face discrimination with impunity,” Sat Pal Muman, chairperson of pro-legislation Castewatch UK, told PTI.
“We have worked hard to promote community cohesion for the last 20 years to unite all Hindu and Sikh communities, whatever caste, as one British Indian integrated community into the country’s evolving and dynamic culture,” Anil Bhanot, chair of the anti-legislation Ethnic Minority Foundation, said. “Such a legislation would have further divided our communities when our youth here have grown up not even aware of such caste identities.”