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Govt of India asks media not to use 'Dalit' word to identify members of Scheduled Castes: "Follows" High Court order

Phule, Ambedkar
By Our Representative
A Government of India (GoI) advisory, issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) has, in a surprise move, asked media to refrain from using the word Dalit. Seeking "Urgent compliance with court order", the advisory says that it is "advised that media may refrain from using the nomenclature Dalit, while referring to members belonging to Scheduled Caste, in compliance with the directions of the Bombay High Court and the Constitutional term Scheduled Caste in English."
While the I&B Ministry's advisory is dated August 7, 2018, the matter has been made public by the Mumbai Press Club through a tweet on September 3, which says, "I&B advisory for media: Compliance with the High Court order for refraining from using word 'Dalit' while referring to members belonging to Scheduled Castes."
Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of India's top news portal, "The Wire", immediately commented through a tweet, "The word 'Dalit' was coined by Jotiba Phule. It was picked up by the movement led by Babasaheb Ambedkar as a political umbrella term to unite groups of "outcastes" ostracised by the Hindu Law of Dharma Shastras. The Information & Broadcasting ministry wants us to ban it."
Govt of India "advisory"
The I&B Ministry advisory, addressed to "private satellite TV channels, said, this was in "compliance" with "directions" given in the Order dated June 6, 2018 passed by the Bombay High Court's Nagpur Bench, in PIL No.114 of 2016 filed by Pankaj Meshram "regarding refraining media from using the nomenclature 'Dalit' while referring to members belonging Scheduled Castes".
"Earlier", the I&B Ministry advisory said, the Ministry of Social Justice "had issued a letter dated March 15, 2018 thereby requesting all the State Governments/UT Administrators that for all official transaction, matters, dealings, certificates etc., the Constitutional term Scheduled Caste’ in English, and its appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for denoting the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes notified in the Presidential Orders issued under Article 341 of the Constitution of India."
The advisory said, Para 6 of the High Court order reads that "as Central Government has issued necessary directions to its officers, we find that it can also issue suitable directions as per law" to the government and the media "to refrain from using same word."
The order continues, said the advisory, that "various institutes in the field are not before us and hence, we direct" the government "to consider the question of issuing such direction to the media and take suitable decision upon it within next six weeks.”

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