Dalit organisations to demand reservation in higher judiciary

Plans are afoot to organise a protest from August 9, Quit India Day, demanding reservation in the higher judiciary by pointing out that it does not reflect the social demography of the country.

After cornering the BJP-led NDA government on the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, Dalit organisations are now gearing up for another fight for reservation in the higher judiciary.

Certain that their protests will force the government to ensure that the Act will not be diluted in case the Supreme Court refuses to change its order, the organisations have decided to launch agitations in the coming days. The first protest could be witnessed in the run-up to Independence Day.

Plans are afoot to organise a protest from August 9, Quit India Day, demanding reservation in the higher judiciary by pointing out that it does not reflect the social demography of the country.

"How can you ensure that judiciary represents the interest of Dalits and Adivasis? For that, we need reservation. We must have a representative judiciary. Our next battle is representation in the judiciary," Dalit leader Ashok Bharti told DH.

Dalit organisations had organised a successful 'Bharat Bandh' on April 2 and put the BJP on the backfoot, forcing the Narendra Modi government to file a review petition against the Supreme Court order that prohibits immediate arrests in the case, which Dalits claimed diluted the law.

Amid a perception that Dalits, who overwhelmingly voted for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls that catapulted Modi to prime ministership are angry and moving away, leaders in Dalit organisations believe the government would take the ordinance route and bring in suitable changes during the Monsoon Session of Parliament to ensure that the law is not diluted in case the Supreme Court does not change its stand.

Dalit groups have got the support of Opposition parties in the fight as several outfits have openly come out against the BJP.

“In the last four years, they have not delivered. Whatever they got in 2014, they will lose. It is not that previous regimes were pro-Dalit. Then at least we could reach out to the government and explain our position. Somebody used to listen. Now it is not the case,” a senior Dalit leader said.

After the success of 'Bharat Bandh', a group of Dalit organisations held a meeting in the national capital last week where they chalked out plans to keep up the pressure on the government.

It had served an ultimatum to the government asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spell out the actions taken to safeguard the SC/SC Act during his address to the nation on Independence Day.

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