Use Scheduled Castes instead of ‘Dalits’ I&B ministry asks television channels

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has asked television channels to refrain from using the term “Dalits, based on an order of the Bombay High Court, which has asked the government to ensure that the term Dalit is not used for referring to the communities included in the Scheduled Castes by the Constitution.

The Bombay high court’s Nagpur bench had issued the order while hearing a petition seeking removal of the word ‘Dalit’ from government documents and communication. Following the court’s order, the ministry had ordered the Press Council of India in June to decide if media could use the term ‘Dalit’ in its reportage.

The I&B ministry on August 7 wrote to the News Broadcasters Association and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation – bodies of TV channels – conveying a June 6 directive from the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court asking the government to direct the media not to use the word “Dalit”.

Dalit rights groups have however opposed the I&B ministry’s order, saying that the term ‘Dalit’ holds political significance and a sense of identity.

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