The Allahabad high court on Thursday stayed with immediate effect caste-based rallies throughout Uttar Pradesh, while issuing notices to central and state governments, the Election Commission and four major political parties.
"We stay caste-based rallies throughout the state of UP," the Lucknow bench of the court comprising justices Uma Nath Singh and Mahendra Dayal said on a PIL filed by a local lawyer Motilal Yadav.
The ruling comes in the backdrop of the Bahujan Samaj Party recently organising Brahmin Bhaichara Sammelan in 40 districts of the state, including one addressed by party supremo Mayawati at Lucknow.
The Samajwadi Party too had organised a similar event in Lucknow recently besides a Muslim sammelan. The court also issued notices to the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, BSP and SP.
The litigant submitted that there was a spurt of caste-based political rallies in the state. He said political parties were organising caste-based rallies in the name of different castes like Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya etc.
Yadav submitted that while such events were causing damage to social unity and harmony, they were also vitiating the society, which was against the spirit of the Constitution.
On behalf of the state government, additional advocate general Bulbul Godiyal appeared before the court. The Centre, state government, ECI, Congress, BJP, SP and BSP have been made respondents in the public interest litigation.
Image: A sadhublows into a conch shell during a protest in Allahabad
Photograph: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters