In compliance with a Bombay High Court directive, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory to all private satellite TV channels, urging them to refrain from using the nomenclature, ‘Dalit’, for people belonging to Scheduled Castes.

The advisory has urged channels that they may refrain from using the term ‘Dalit’ while referring to people belonging to Scheduled Castes.

The letter, dated August 7, referred to a June directive by the Bombay High Court asking the ministry to consider issuing a direction to the media to stop using the word ‘Dalit’.

“It is accordingly advised that media may refrain from using the nomenclature ‘Dalit’ while referring to members belonging to Scheduled Castes in compliance with the directions of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court and the Constitutional term ‘Scheduled Caste’ in English, and its appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for all official transactions, matters, dealings, certificates, etc. for denoting the persons belonging to Scheduled Castes,” the advisory from the ministry read.

The directive from the Bombay High Court had come over a petition filed by Pankaj Meshram before the Nagpur bench of the court.

On 15 March, similar orders were issued to all state governments by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, stating that only the term ‘Scheduled Caste’ should be used in all official communications, mentioning that the term ‘Dalit’ does not find mention in the Constitution.

After the circular from the social justice ministry, the petitioner had said media too should be asked to stop using the word ‘Dalit’.

(With agency inputs)