There cannot be a complete ban on use of word “Dalit” in media, the Press Council of India, the body that regulates print media, has ruled.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had issued an advisory to all media outlets to not use the word “Dalit” to refer to members belonging to the Scheduled Castes. The advisory was based on an order of the Bombay High Court on June 6 this year, on a petition filed by Pankaj Meshram.
In an earlier order on March 15 this year, the Ministry of Social Justice too had issued a similar advisory to all the State governments and Union Territories that in all official transactions, the constitutional term “Scheduled Caste” should be used instead of the word “Dalit”.
In its advisory, the I&B Ministry said: “It is accordingly advised that media may refrain from using the nomenclature “Dalit” while referring to members belonging to the Scheduled Caste in compliance with Bombay High Court..”
“Our reading of the Bombay High Court order is that it did not seek a ban on the word ‘Dalit’. We deliberated on the order and have come to the conclusion that it is advisable not to issue directions/orders prohibiting the use of word ‘Dalit’,” PCI chairman Justice C.K. Prasad said.
He added that it had to be adjudicated on case-to-case basis. “If say a man is injured in an accident and he turns out to be from the Scheduled Caste, then identifying him as a Dalit will be unnecessary,” he added.