The Punjab and Haryana High Court has instructed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh not to mention the caste of the accused, victims or witnesses in proceedings before the court.
A Bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Kuldip Singh, while passing a ruling in a murder case where the Haryana police had mentioned the caste of the accused, witnesses and the victim during the proceedings, noted that the caste system was profoundly illogical and was also against the basic tenets of the Constitution.
“…it would be pertinent to mention here that during the course of investigation, the police have used the caste of the accused, witnesses as well as of the victim. This is not permissible. Mentioning of the caste status separately in the criminal proceedings is a colonial legacy and requires to be stopped forthwith…The Constitution guarantees a casteless and classless society. All are born equal,” observed the court.
The court has directed the Secretaries (Home) of the governments to issue instructions to all investigating officers not to mention the caste of the accused, victims or witnesses in recovery memos, FIRs, seizure memos, inquest papers and other forms prescribed under CrPC and Punjab Police Rules.