Nine years after it passed an interim order banning caste-based political rallies in Uttar Pradesh while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, the Allahabad High Court has now issued fresh notices to the Election Commission of India and four political parties (BJP, Congress, SP, BSP) in the case, listing the matter for next hearing on December 15.
The Allahabad High Court had in July 2013 passed the interim order, directing that there shall be no caste-based rallies with political motives in the State till the Election Commission of India took suitable measures after participating in the court proceedings.
However, in a November hearing this year before the Bench of Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Jaspreet Singh, the court noted that the counsel for respondents was not present for the hearing and that they had filed no response.
Taking note of this, the court then proceeded to issue fresh notices to the respondents, seeking their reply by the next date of hearing.
The matter was taken up when Advocate Moti Lal Yadav filed a PIL against organised caste-based political rallies and sought directions that the Election Commission of India is directed to frame rules to control political parties against all acts of commission or omission to influence voters based on caste and religion.
The High Court had, in July 2013, heard the PIL and ruled to ban such rallies till the ECI joined the proceedings and framed rules for the same. It had said it was exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution to issue the directions even though the PIL did not specifically seek a ban.
The court had in 2013 said that the traditional caste system “was largely an apolitical institution”, adding, “In their attempt to seek a political base in the caste system by means of politicisation, it appears that the political parties have seriously disturbed the social fabrics and cohesiveness. It has rather resulted in causing social fissions.”
Further, it argued that the “globalisation of the economy” had led to a “drastic change in the caste-based thinking and the mindset of a modern generation”.
It thus concluded, “In the premises above, unrestricted freedom to hold caste-based rallies, which is to the total disliking and beyond the comprehension of the modern generation and also contrary to the public interest, cannot be justified.”
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