Tamil Nadu

Case against use of term ‘Devendrakula Velalar’

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre and the State government to explain the rationale behind a decision taken recently to use the common nomenclature Devendrakula Velalar to refer to seven different Scheduled Castes in Tamil Nadu, despite objections raised by people belonging to the Vellalar community, comprising Mudaliars, Gounders, Pillaimars and Saiva Chettiyars.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy ordered that both the Union and the State governments should file their counter affidavits, indicating their stand, in three weeks. The order was passed on a writ petition filed by the World Vellalar Association, challenging a government order issued on June 1, instructing Collectors in the State to use the new nomenclature in official records.

In an affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, association president W.B. Palani said about 2.7 crore people in the State belonged to the Vellalar community, and they did not like the name being used by any other community. However, in March 2019, the State government constituted a committee to group Kudumban, Pallan, Devendrakulathan, Kadaiyan, Pannadi and Kalladi under a common nomenclature.

Alleging that the committee did not comprise of any anthropologist to take an informed decision, the petitioner association said the committee, nevertheless, submitted a report in November 2020 and recommended that seven Scheduled Castes, including Vathiriyan, residing in certain districts, could be called Devendrakula Velalar. The State accepted the report and forwarded it to the Centre for passing an appropriate legislation.

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Act of 2021 was passed by Parliament. The legislation received the President’s assent on April 13 and was brought into force from May 15, from when officials were expected to refer to the new nomenclature while issuing community certificates. The present G.O. under challenge was the fall out of the new law, the petitioner association said.

It was also brought to the notice of the court that an individual had already challenged the validity of the new 2021 Act. After recording the submissions, the judges directed the High Court Registry to club the present case with another one challenging the law, and list them together for further hearing after four weeks.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 2:29:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/case-against-use-of-term-devendrakula-velalar/article34825651.ece

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