The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has advised TV channels to use the term ‘Scheduled Castes (SC)’ instead of ‘Dalit’ in compliance with directions from the Bombay high court, according to a government order.
The court had in June asked the ministry to consider asking the media to stop using ‘Dalit’.
The advisory has so far been issued to private TV channels alone. It was unclear whether newspapers and magazines will also have to consider followingthe guideline in the future.
“It is accordingly advised that the media may refrain from using the nomenclature ‘Dalit’ while referring to members of the Scheduled Caste in compliance with the direction of the Bombay high court and the Constitutional term ‘Scheduled Caste’ in English and appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for all official transaction, matters, dealings, certificates, etc. for denoting the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes notified in the Presidential Orders issued under Article 341 of the Constitution of India,” the MIB said in its order.
The ministry did not specify that the order was binding and did not list any action against those who did not comply.
The MIB had asked the Press Council of India in Juneto take a call on whether media can use the term Dalit after the court’s order.
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.
Former Congress MP, Bhalchand Mungekar, had told HT in April that the term Dalit has been used to denote all socially, economically and educationally exploited and politically backward communities. He said the direction to consider dropping the term, which is now used internationally, is an attempt to divide the Dalit movement.
The ministry of social justice and empowerment had on March 15 issued a circular advising ministries, departments and state governments to refrain from using the term Dalit in official communications and to opt for constitutional term Scheduled Castes instead.