Uttar Pradesh Social Welfare Minister Ramapati Shastri on Thursday said there was no question of banning the word “Dalit” as it was not used in official government communication, PTI reported.
“The word Dalit means those who are oppressed and it includes everyone who has been exploited or oppressed,” Shastri said. “Dalit is a not ‘parliamentary word’ and is not used in official communication, so [the question of banning] it does not arise.” He was responding to a question by Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mohammad Aslam Raini in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
Raini had submitted a written question on whether the government would contemplate a ban on the word “Dalit” as it was “unparliamentary”.
In February, the Supreme Court had rejected a petition that challenged a central government advisory to the media against using the word “Dalit” to refer to members of the Scheduled Caste. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had, on August 7, 2018, advised media publications to refrain from using the term and to use the constitutional term “Scheduled Caste” in English and appropriate translations in other languages instead.
The Centre’s advisory followed a directive by the Nagpur branch of the Bombay High Court in June 2018, which asked the government to consider advising the media to use the term “Scheduled Caste” as the Ministry of Social Justice and Welfare had already issued a circular in March the same year. The Press Council of India, in November 2018, had ratified a decision against a blanket ban on the use of the word Dalit as such a restriction is “neither feasible nor advisable”.