Many media outlets used the term ‘Dalit’ for the newly elected Chief Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channy. Taking this seriously, the Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes on Tuesday (September 21) issued instructions not to use the term for any person belonging to the Scheduled Castes.
Commission chairperson Tejinder Kaur said that the word ‘Dalit’ was not mentioned in the constitution or any law. He further said that the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has already issued instructions to the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories in this regard.
Referring to the 2018 order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, he directed the Central and State Governments as well as their office bearers to ban the use of the word ‘Dalit’ for persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The word ‘Scheduled Castes’ is correct instead of ‘Dalit’
Tejinder Kaur further said that following the High Court directive, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had directed all the States and Union Territories to use the word ‘Scheduled Castes’ instead of ‘Dalit’ for persons belonging to Scheduled Castes.
In a letter to Chief Secretary Vinnie Mahajan on September 13, Kaur had recommended renaming of some villages, towns and other places. These names are currently based on caste.