Your ‘Property Plus’ supplement (April 7, 2012) carried an advertisement for the sale of flats with a caption stating “only Brahmins,” excluding non-Brahmin castes, Dalits and religious minorities such as Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc., from buying or residing in the flats, thus discriminating against people on the basis of caste and religion, thereby violating the letter and spirit of Articles 15 and 17 of the Constitution. Excluding Dalits from buying the advertised flats can only be construed as an expression of untouchability against them.
Excluding people based on caste or religion from the sale, rental or residence of housing facilities is a blatant act of bigotry and oppression that causes great distress to the victims apart from leading to social balkanisation of our nation due to caste segregation and religious polarisation. Such advertisements and business practices which exclude people on the basis of caste or religion should be proscribed.
The Editor replies:
The Hindu stands against discrimination and exclusion. My colleagues do their best to scrutinise the fine print of all advertisements received to ensure they are not contrary to constitutional values. Sometimes, regrettably, things get by. The condition stipulated by the advertiser in this particular advertisement was inadvertently carried.
The Hindu had no intention to hurt the feelings of anyone. There is no question of The Hindu endorsing anything in any advertisement, much less one that is socially exclusive.