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SC admits PIL to End Caste Based Discrimination in Universities

Team SoOLEGAL 20 Sep 2019 7:22pm

SC admits PIL to End Caste Based Discrimination in Universities

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Central Government, University Grants Commission (UGC) and Others on Friday in a petition seeking direction for eliminating the caste-based discrimination in Indian universities and implementation of the UGC Regulations passed in 2012 on the said issue.

A two-judge Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice NV Ramana and Justice Ajay Rastogi has admitted the plea thereby directing the Central Govt. to file a response within a time period of four weeks.

The petition was filed by Abeda Salim Tadvi and Radhika Vemula, mothers of deceased students Rohith Vemula and Payal Tadvi, both of whom had committed suicide over alleged caste-based bias.

The petition categorically mentioned that “There have been several incidents of caste-based discrimination against members of the SC and ST community, which reflects flagrant non-compliance with the existing norms and regulations. These incidents are violative of the fundamental rights to equality, against discrimination, equal opportunity, the abolition of untouchability and right to life.”

The plea further demanded to establish Equal Opportunity Cells in every university along with Internal Complaints Committee including members from the SC/ST categories, independent members and specialists from NGOs and other relevant institutions.

The focal point of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) argued by Senior Advocate Indira Jaising sought directions from the Apex Court for strict compliance of the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulation of 2012 which restricts any kind of discrimination on campus.

It was argued by the Counsel for the Petitioners that there are 288 universities all over India besides some more deemed universities where no equity commissions have been set up.

The Senior Advocate also pressed for a rigorous and accountable system in place with the implementation and strict compliance of the UGC Equity Regulations in letter and spirit.

The plea also demanded to direct all such universities and institutions to upload the measures taken by them to eliminate the menace of caste-discrimination on their respective websites.

Rohith Vemula, who was pursuing PhD from Hyderabad Central University, had also committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in a university hostel room in January 2016. Vemula was frightened by the disciplinary actions taken against him by the university, by expelling him allegedly due to caste-based discrimination.

Payal Salim Tadvi was a second-year resident doctor at BYL Nair Hospital, Mumbai and belonged to the ST community. She had committed suicide in her hostel room in May 2019. She allegedly faced caste discrimination and harassment from seniors. Payal left a suicide note, naming three colleagues who allegedly harassed her. The accused persons are presently out on bail and matter is being investigated by Mumbai Crime Branch.

Tagged: Rohith Vemula   Payal Tadvi   Supreme Court   Central Government   UGC   Indira Jaising   Caste discrimination   PIL  
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