RAIPUR: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has asked the state governments not to use the word ‘Dalit’ in official documents, saying the term was “unconstitutional”. The Commission has stated that sometimes the word ‘Dalit’ is used as a substitute for Scheduled Caste in official documents, sources in State Tribal Department said on Friday. After consultation with the legal department, the Commission said that the word is neither constitutional nor the word has been mentioned in the current laws.
Rather ‘Scheduled Caste’ is the appropriate and notified word as per the Article 341 of the Constitution, it said in a letter sent to all states.
Acting upon the order, the Chhattisgarh government has directed District Collectors and its departments not to use ‘Dalit’ word in their documents, they said.
Source : Jan 18, 2008 Times of India
Article 341 in The Constitution Of India 1949
341. Scheduled Castes
To,The Chief Secretaries,All State Governments/Union Territory Administrations.Subject: Need to avoid the use of term “Harijan” in respect of Scheduled Castes in official communications and transactions.Sir,‘I am directed to refer to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) letter No. BC 12025/44/80-SC&BCD.I/IV, dated 10.02.1982, in which all the State Governments / Union Territory Administrations were requested to issue instructions to the authorities who were empowered to issue the Scheduled Castes certificates, not to insert the word ‘Harijan’ in the Scheduled Caste certificates, but to mention only the name of the caste to which the person belongs. Subsequently the Ministry of Welfare (now Social Justice and Empowerment), vide letter No. 12025/14/90-SCD(R.L.Cell), dated 16.08.1990, had again requested the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, that for all official transactions, matters, dealings, certificates etc., the Constitutional term, ‘Scheduled Caste’ in English and its appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for denoting the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes included in the Presidential Orders issued under Article 341 of the Constitution. The State Governments / U.T.Administrations were also requested that in the names of departments, which are in overall charge of development/welfare of Scheduled Castes, the term ‘Harijan’ etc. should not be used.2. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment. in its Ninth Report presented to Lok Sabha and laid in Rajya Sahha on l9.08,2010, inter-alia observed as follows:“…..the circular issued way back in 1982 is very old which has lost its sanctity and purpose leading to its non compliance…. As such, there is widespread use of the word ‘Harijan’ across the country deprecating the status of the underprivileged sections of the society“.Accordingly, the Committee has recommended that this Ministry issue fresh guidelines, instructions to States/ U.Ts directing them to ensure the non-use of the word “Harijan” not only in caste certificates but also otherwise.3. All the State Governments/U.T. Administrations are again requested that for all office transactions, matters, dealings, certificates etc.. the Constitutional term. ‘Scheduled Caste’ in English, and its – appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for denoting the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes included in the Orders issued by the President under Article 341 of the Constitution of India.4. Action taken on the above may kindly be intimated to the undersignedYours faithfully,P.L.NegiDirector(SCD)