The Rajasthan High Court has ordered that the caste of a person should not be mentioned in any judicial and administrative matter as it was “against the Constitution”. The court gave the direction while referring to a 2018 case that was heard by the Jaipur bench.
“It has been observed that the caste of accused and other persons is being incorporated by the officers/officials of Registry of this Court and Presiding Officers of Subordinate Courts/Special Courts/Tribunals in judicial and administrative matters, which is against the spirit of Constitution of India,” the Standing Order issued by the Registrar General of the court said.
The order said it was “not in consonance with the directions of the Rajasthan High Court”.
Hearing a criminal miscellaneous application in the 2018 case, a bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma found it “peculiar” after advocate Girraj P Sharma mentioned that the petitioner Bishan (24) was not released on bail by the jail authorities for five days despite an HC order only because his caste on the order was not the same as mentioned in the police arrest memo.
“The petitioner was granted bail on June 29, 2018, but on account of typographical mistake the caste mentioned was Mev while his caste was Jatav,” Sharma had said. “On account of said reason alone, the bail bonds were not accepted and the petitioner has remained in jail for last five days,” he said.
The court of Justice Sharma had then observed that an individual should not to be identified by his caste but by his parentage.
“The police while arresting an accused mentions caste in the arrest memo and caste also finds mention as a factor for identifying a person, which is extremely abhorrent and contrary to the principles laid down in the Constitution. An individual is not to be identified by his caste but by his parentage,” the court noted.
“Time has come that the state should strive towards a caste-less society. However, the functionaries of the state instead insist on mentioning caste,” Justice Sharma had said. He had directed that in future caste of accused shall not be mentioned in bail applications.
“It is also further directed that the police shall not mention the caste of an individual in the arrest memo as identifying a person by caste is neither provided under the CrPC nor it is provided under any law under the Constitution,” Justice Sharma said while exempting cases under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
A copy of the order was sent to the state government and the office of the Director General of Police for compliance. The Monday order said that “it is enjoined upon all concerned to ensure that caste of any person including accused is not incorporated in any judicial or administrative matter”.
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