The State Government has directed all the departments to strictly ensure that the word ‘Harijan’ is not used in any official communication and caste certificate.
The Government directive came following fresh guidelines issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to all the States directing to ensure non-use of Harijan word not only in caste certificates but otherwise.
Taking serious note of the widespread use of the word ‘Harijan’ across the country, a parliamentary committee asked the Centre to strictly ensure its non-use, underlining that it was depreciating the status of the under-privileged sections of society.
“There is widespread use of the word ‘Harijan’ across the country, depreciating the status of the under-privileged sections of society,” the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment said in its ninth report on action taken by the government on its recommendations.
The circular issued in 1982 is very old and has lost its sanctity and purpose leading to non-compliance, the committee had said in its report submitted to both the houses of Parliament on August 19, 2010.
The Committee also suggested the Centre to consider taking punitive action against those states and Union Territories in case they fail to comply with its directions in this.
The panel had said in its previous report that it had recommended that the ministry should vigorously pursue the implementation of the legal provisions to discourage or ban the use of the said word.
From the action taken reply furnished by the ministry, the committee noted that the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a circular on February 10, 1982 to the State governments and Union Territory administrations requesting them to issue instruction to the authorities concerned not to use the word ‘Harijan’ in Scheduled Caste certificates but to mention the name of the caste to which the person belongs, it said.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Welfare (now Social Justice and Empowerment) again wrote to the Chief Secretaries of all the states and UTs on August 16, 1990 requesting to use the constitutional term Scheduled Caste in English and its appropriate translation in other languages denoting the persons belong to Scheduled Castes.
“No further follow-up action has been taken by the Ministry, discouraging or dissuading the use of the word Harijan,” the committee remarked.