23rd July 2018, will be seen as a dark day when the British Government announced the result of the Caste Consultation. The Government will not be implementing the caste law as envisaged by Equality Act 2010 Section 9(5) but instead the government will now be taking steps to repeal the Caste provision.
Government response states on Page 3 , ref (Caste in Great Britain and equality law: a public consultation Government consultation response), As the result of a 2013 amendment to section 9 (5) (a) of the Equality Act 2010, a duty exists to introduce specific legal protection against discrimination because of caste, by making caste an aspect of race for the purposes of the Act. However, the subsequent judgment of an Employment Appeal Tribunal [EAT] in the Tirkey v Chandhok case in 2014 established that many of the facts relevant in considering caste in many of its forms might be equally capable of being considered as part of a person’s ethnic origins, which is already part of the existing race provisions within the Act. The consultation therefore invited views on whether suitable legal protection against caste discrimination is better ensured by exercising the duty or by relying on emerging case-law under the Act as developed by courts and tribunals. The public consultation ran from 28 March 2017 to 18 September 2017. ( Caste in Great Britain and equality law: a public consultation Government consultation response P3 )
CasteWatcuK’s 15 year active campaign has been nullified at a stroke of the pen by a government that caved into pressure from the opposing side who demanded the repeal of the Caste provision.
Government says that a separate Caste provision is not required and suggest caste could be covered by an existing ethnic origins provision. This means reliance is placed on case law to develop. This clearly means the victims will not have any legal protection and have to go through expensive long drawn legal battle to get justice. This alone is a massive deterrent for victims to seek justice to the delight of offenders who can continue to abuse and harass people on the basis of caste with impunity.
Government has not lived up to its bold commitment ‘that no one should suffer prejudice or discrimination on any grounds , including any perception of their caste’ and sold out to the opposing side, no doubt for political reasons with an eye on Hindu and Sikh votes , a section amongst them were the main antagonists. No doubt Government also had an eye on trade and commercial overseas interests.
Of the 16,138 consultation responses, analysis indicated that:
• 8,513 respondents were ‘in favour of relying on case-law’; • 2,885 respondents were ‘in favour of legislation’; • 3,588 respondents rejected both options; • 1,113 respondents were ‘not sure’ which was the better option;
• 1 respondent was in favour of either option; and
The views of 38 respondents were sufficiently unclear as to not be able to determine which option they supported
On a positive note, our campaign gave a running battle to the opposition. History will not be so forgiving when future generations will look back on this historic blunder by those who claim to abide by the principle of equality but in practise do everything to undermine it. By holding onto an archaic social system of caste which is so detrimental to the progress of humanity, the opposition together with the British government, demonstrably, lost its moral compass.
Castewatchuk will continue its campaign to cause a dent in the vile system of Caste and shall be reviewing the details of the consultation response to formulate our response.
Sat Pal Muman
23 July 2018