Allahabad High Court Says No To Caste-Based Rallies In UP

LUCKNOW (TIP): Throwing a spanner in the works of Uttar Pradesh’s caste-dominated politics, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on July 10 stayed rallies based on caste in the state with immediate effect. The Division Bench comprising Justices Uma Nath Singh and Mahendra Dayal has also issued notices to the Central and state governments, Election Commission as well as the four major political parties – the BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party. They have been asked to present their point of view.

The next hearing is scheduled for July 25. The order comes a day after the Supreme Court cut to size the political elite in the nation by giving a judgment that stated that an elected representative would stand disqualified as soon as he was convicted even by a trial court for any offence which prescribes punishment for two or more years.

Today’s order came in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Lucknow-based lawyer Motilal Yadav challenging caste-based rallies. In his petition, Yadav had demanded a ban on such rallies arguing that those were against the spirit of the Constitution which clearly states that all caste and communities were equal before the law and upheld that there would be no discrimination based on caste or religious lines.

Such rallies were dangerous to the social fabric of the country as these created enmity between castes and promoted assertion of caste-based identities, pleaded Yadav. He had made the Central and state governments as well as the ECI, Congress, BJP, SP and BSP as respondents in the PIL. Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal had appeared on behalf of the state government. The PIL was filed in the high court a day after BSP national president Mayawati addressed the 34th and last Brahmin Mahasammelan in Lucknow on July 7.

These mahasammelans were meant to mobilise Brahmins in the state in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha poll. While SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav welcomed today’s order, his party had also organised a similar Brahmin meeting at the SP office on April 26 where sops for Brahmins was announced, including the declaration of Parshuram Jayanti as a gazetted holiday. The Election Commission has already banned such caste and community based rallies and events during the election process.

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