In a landmark move, the Supreme Court issued a general order to its registry, all High Courts, and subordinate courts, directing them to refrain from mentioning the caste or religion of litigants in case papers. The bench, comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, emphatically stated that this practice must be immediately discontinued.
"We see no reason for mentioning the caste/religion of any litigant either before this Court or the courts below. Such a practice is to be shunned and must be ceased forthwith," the Court declared.
The order came to light during the consideration of a transfer petition related to a marital dispute in a family court in Rajasthan. The Court, permitting the case's transfer to a family court in Punjab, expressed surprise at finding the caste of both parties mentioned in the memo of the parties.
The lawyer representing one party explained the predicament faced when the caste details were mentioned in case papers before the family court. He clarified that failure to replicate these details before the Supreme Court could lead to objections from the Court's registry for inconsistencies.
The Supreme Court, taking a firm stance, mandated that the caste or religion of parties should not be mentioned, irrespective of their inclusion in case papers before lower courts. The order, dated January 10, emphasized that this directive applies uniformly to petitions and proceedings filed before the Supreme Court.
"It is deemed appropriate to pass a general order directing that henceforth the caste or religion of parties shall not be mentioned in the memo of parties of a petition/proceeding filed before this Court, irrespective of whether any such details have been furnished before the courts below," the order stated.
The Court further directed the communication of these guidelines to lawyers and the Court's registry for immediate compliance, with a copy sent to the Registrar for circulation among the Registrar Generals of all High Courts.
This initiative reinforces the judiciary's commitment to eliminating irrelevant considerations like caste and religion from legal proceedings, promoting a more egalitarian and impartial legal system.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News Writer, MIT ADT University