Allahabad HC Seeks Political Parties' Response on Caste-Based Rallies Ban

Mainstream
21-Mar-2024
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The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has taken a significant step in the ongoing PIL seeking a ban on caste-based rallies in Uttar Pradesh, issuing notices to the state's major political parties. Chief Justice Arun Bhansali and Justice Jaspreet Singh have fixed April 10 as the next hearing date in the matter.

The Court's move comes in response to an old Public Interest Litigation filed by local lawyer Motilal Yadav, who sought a complete ban on caste-based rallies in Uttar Pradesh. The PIL, filed in 2013, resulted in an interim ban on organizing such rallies in the state.

Expressing concern over the notices not being served to the political parties initially, the bench issued fresh notices to ensure their participation and response to the matter.

Furthermore, while the Election Commission of India had filed a response, the Court sought a fresh copy as the original was not traceable on record.

In its 2013 order, the bench strongly criticized the practice of holding caste-based rallies, stating, "The unrestricted freedom to hold caste-based rallies... cannot be justified. It will rather be an act of negating the rule of law and denying the fundamental rights to citizens." The Court highlighted how politicizing caste has led to social divisions, impacting the social fabric adversely.

The petitioner argued that political parties' activities aimed at garnering votes from majority groups have marginalized caste minorities, relegating them to second-class citizens in their own country, despite constitutional provisions ensuring equality.

"Despite the clear constitutional provisions and the fundamental rights enshrined therein, they are feeling disillusioned, dismayed, and betrayed because of being placed in disadvantageous positions in the number game of vote politics," the petitioner lamented.

With the next hearing scheduled for April 10, the Allahabad High Court's stance underscores the gravity of the issue of caste-based politics in Uttar Pradesh and its implications on societal cohesion and democratic values.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University