SC Issues Notices to Centre, States on Caste Discrimination After Mothers of Rohit Vemula, Payal Tadvi Move Court


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the issue of deep rooted caste-based discrimination across universities, which apparently led to suicides of Dr Payal Tadvi and Rohith Vermula, among many others.

A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana issued notices to Central government, UGC and NAAC to respond to a petition moved jointly by the mothers of Tadvi and Vermula.

Representing the mothers, senior lawyer Indira Jaising pointed out that despite a set of regulations by the UGC, there has been no implementation.

"There are 288 universities, besides some more deemed universities where no equity commissions have been set up," complained Jaising, referring to a previous judgment by Justice Ramana only wherein the judge had highlighted caste-based discrimination in the universities.

When informed that the directions issued in the previous judgment have not been implemented at all, the senior lawyer said the top court must step in to ensure strict compliance so as to stop such harassment.

The bench agreed to examine the subject of implementation and compliance, and sought responses from the responsible bodies in four weeks.

Suicides of Dr Payal Tadvi, Rohith Vermula:

Dr Payal and Vermula ended their lives, citing caste-based discrimination and harassment as reasons. While Payal left a suicide note, naming three doctors who allegedly harassed her, Vermula committed suicide in 2016 in Hyderabad after he was expelled from the college.

Petition by their mother has complained against inadequate mechanisms set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The Plea demands a rigorous and accountable system in place.

Petition also cited a series of cases where Dalit and Adivasi students were pushed to take extreme steps while fighting caste-based discrimination in universities.