It also issues notices to Central and State governments, EC and 4 major parties

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday banned “with immediate effect” caste-based rallies in Uttar Pradesh and issued notices to the Central and State governments, the Election Commission, the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.

A Bench of Justices Uma Nath Singh and Mahendra Dayal delivered the ruling on a public interest litigation petition filed by local lawyer Motilal Yadav. He submitted that there was an upsurge in caste-based political rallies in the State, and prayed for a ban on such rallies as they were against the spirit of the Constitution and created enmity along caste lines. The court fixed July 25 as the next date of hearing.

Both the Congress and the BJP welcomed the court ruling. BJP State unit president Laxmikant Bajpai said the ruling was a stinging blow to the parties playing caste-based politics, while Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Amarnath Agarwal said the basic spirit of the Constitution and democracy would be strengthened in the wake of the verdict.

Last Sunday, the Bahujan Samaj Party held a “Brahmin bhaichara sammelan” in Lucknow. “Muslim bhaichara sammellans” were also organised by it at Barabanki and Lucknow. The ruling Samajwadi Party too has had its share of caste-based rallies. In the recent past, it hosted two Brahmin meetings. Backward caste meetings have also been organised by the party.

Omar Rashid reports from Allahabad:

The SP welcomed the court order but defended its recent Brahmin rallies. It reasoned that none of them was based on any particular caste.