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PIL in front of the Calcutta High Court against the rule that people who go to court have to reveal their caste.

The petition expressed disappointment that this practise remained even 75 years after India gained its independence.

An application for revision of the Calcutta High Court’s presenting form, which requires a petitioner to declare their caste for filing a lawsuit, was made in a public interest litigation (PIL) petition.

According to the argument put up by Vijay Kumar Singhal, caste identity may be required for carrying out a census or outlining reservation rules, but it cannot and should not be insisted upon for the purpose of submitting a case to a court of law.

The petition expressed regret that such a practise remained even 75 years after India gained its independence.

“It is unfortunate that even after 75 years of India’s independence, this Hon’ble Court requires the petitioner/ appellant/ applicant to disclose their caste for filing a petition,” the plea stated.

It urged the Court to take action to remove the practise of requesting one to disclose their caste status before filing a petition and suggested that the presentation form be made gender- and religion-neutral.

“Form A must be made neutral with regard to religion and gender. If a person, who knocks on the door of the temple of justice for redressing their grievance, is made to disclose their caste identity, then India is far from being a ‘casteless’ society,” the plea said.

The PIL hearing is scheduled for December 6.

The petitioner stated that he was compelled to file the PIL since the Registrar General of the Court failed to act upon a communication he made regarding his complaint to Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava.

According to the argument, caste is personal information, and each citizen has the option of disclosing or not disclosing their personal information.

“Unless a case specifically pertains to the caste identity of any litigant, the litigant must not be forced to disclose their caste identity for filing any petition before this Hon’ble Court,” the PIL stated.

It was argued that forcing a petitioner to reveal their caste identify in front of the court when the issue has nothing to do with caste identity is a breach of their fundamental right, which is protected by Part III of the Indian Constitution.

The petition also emphasised the importance of the “Bengal Renaissance” and criticised the requirement for the petitioner to disclose their caste in order to file a petition by the Calcutta High Court, India’s oldest High Court, which has witnessed and contributed to Indian society’s evolution and advancement.

“The petitioner states that the “Bengal Renaissance” did not only signify the cultural and intellectual upsurge among the intellects of Bengal but the movement laid the very foundation on which stands the modern Indian society today. This Hon’ble Court, being the oldest High Court in India, has not only witnessed but has also actively contributed to the evolution and progress of the Indian society,” the plea stated.

Along with attorney Pallavi Priyadarshee, attorneys Phiroze Edulji will serve as the petitioner’s principal counsel.

Written By: Lakshman Singh, 3rd Semester, B.B.A LL.B (Hons.), Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University, Lucknow


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