Caste bias against dalits not down: CJI
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, 11 January 2010, 02:23am IST
NEW DELHI: In what could raise serious concerns over the working of
the 60-year-old reservation system to uplift the dalits, Chief Justice
of India K G Balakrishnan on Sunday said caste prejudices had not
come down against the dalits.
Reflecting on his journey from a dalit boy to the post of CJI, Justice
Balakrishnan said it had not been an easy road for him. Asked whether
in the present day, a similarly placed dalit boy would have a smoother
journey, the CJI said, "It will still be difficult."
Speaking to TOI, Justice Balakrishnan said, "The prejudices are on the
increase. It may not be visible on the surface, for the prejudices are
more sophisticate now." This remark from the CJI puts in question the
efficacy of the current system of reservation for Scheduled Caste
population through the Presidential Order of 1950 to compensate them
for the centuries of oppression at the hands of upper castes.
But the CJI was not bitter as he looked back on the eve of completing
three years in the top post, just five months away from his
retirement. "I have suffered caste prejudices. But at the same time,
so many people have helped me irrespective of their caste," he added.
In fact, the Supreme Court in April 2006 had issued notices to the
Centre and all states on a PIL filed by an NGO — 'National Campaign on
Dalit Human Rights' (NCDHR) — citing 20 common instances of
indifference of police and authorities that had rendered the SCs and
STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, a dead piece of legislation.
The PIL had sought as many as 28 different directions for the proper
implementation of the 17-year-old Act.
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