The Madras High Court on Wednesday ruled that persons who do not wish to disclose their caste or religion in application forms for admission to educational institutions in the state, should not be compelled to do so.
The school education department’s order issued in 2000 asked schools not to insist on parents to mention their caste or community. It was, however, not followed diligently because most parents were not aware of the order.
A PIL was then filed in the high court to re-publish the order so that many unwilling to name castes in their certificates would opt for it. The first GO was issued on June 2, 1973, permitting people who do not wish to declare their religion and caste details in school certificates and transfer certificates, to do so.
Not compulsory to mention caste in school applications: HC
Disposing of a PIL filed by one G Balakrishnan, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, directed government to give wide publicity to a government order (GO) dated 31 July, 2000 in this regard.
The state government had issued the order with the avowed objective of having a casteless society, the bench said.
The Bench said: “With the avowed object of having a casteless society, the state government issued the GO MS 205 school education department dated July 31, 2000. Counsel for the petitioner submits that the GO needs to be re-emphasised. We are in agreement with the submission of (the) counsel, and thus direct the authorities to circulate the GO giving it wide publicity, so that such persons who do not want to declare their caste or religion are not compelled to do so.”
Stating that counsel for the petitioner had submitted that the GO needed to be re-emphasised, the court directed the respondents to circulate the GO giving wide publicity “so that such persons who do not want to declare their caste or religion are not compelled to do so.”