HC issues notice to Telangana over ‘no religion, no caste’ PIL

The petitioners argue that the current documentation format doesn't allow individuals or parents to select 'no religion' or 'no caste' despite their preference

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court has taken notice of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) urging authorities to refrain from seeking social identity information, including their religion and caste status, from individuals who are unwilling to disclose the same in public records.

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A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Alok Aradhe, has given the state government three weeks to respond to the PIL.

The petition, filed in 2017 by DV Ramakrishna Rao and Saladi Clarence Krupalani, highlights the lack of action by both Union and state governments in accommodating options like ‘No religion, no caste’ in government records.

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The petitioners argue that the current documentation format doesn’t allow individuals or parents to select ‘no religion’ or ‘no caste’ despite their preference. They brought to the court’s notice the absence of specific provisions in government forms, which denies them the right to identify as such.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the existing system, the petitioners argued that individuals and parents opting for a non-religious or non-caste identity face systemic exclusion due to the lack of appropriate provisions in government documentation.

The petitioners also claim that this contradicts constitutional guarantees of equality, freedom, and the right to life, including freedom of religion.

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