The Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court on Thursday stayed with immediate effect rallies based on caste in Uttar Pradesh (UP). It also issued notices to central and state governments, Election Commission and four major political parties – BJP, Congress, BSP and SP – in the state, asking them to present their point of view. The next date of hearing is on July 25.
The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Mahendra Dayal on the public interest litigation (PIL) of a local lawyer Motilal Yadav, who has prayed ban on caste-based rallies on grounds that they are against the spirit of the constitution which states that all caste and communities are equal before the law and there will be no discrimination on caste and religious lines.
The petitioner also said that such caste-based rallies create enmity among castes and promote caste discrimination. The Centre, state government, ECI, Congress, BJP, SP and BSP have been made respondents in the PIL.
On behalf of the state government, additional advocate general Bulbul Godiyal appeared before the court.
The stay comes a day after Supreme Court in its landmark order ruled that a public representative will stand disqualified as soon as he is convicted for two years or more by a court.
Significantly, the BSP recently concluded its first phase of Brahman conventions in the state in which party organized rallies to woo Brahmans in 38 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state. The rally in Lucknow was addressed by party chief Mayawati. The BSP was also planning to hold similar rallies for other castes and Muslims. The SP had also held conventions for Brahmans, Backward Classes and Dalits in last six months. The BJP and Congress are also holding caste and community based public meetings and convention.
The Election Commission has already banned such caste and community based rallies and events during the election process.