New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday sought
a response from the government on a petition seeking inclusion of nomadic and semi-nomadic communities in the ongoing census.
A bench of justices J M Panchal and H L Gokhale issued
notice to the Centre on the plea for inclusion of Denotified,
Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DTNT) communities in the
There are an estimated 700 communities in the country
which claim to be DTNT. Out of them only 50-60 communities are
listed either as SCs or STs, the petition has claimed.
According to the petition, these communities continue
to be neglected as they were earlier considered to be
"criminals or untouchables".
The petition filed by one Mohan Dhansing Chavhan,
through counsel Nitin Meshram, has submitted that
non-inclusion of the DTNTs in the ongoing census takes the
focus away from their socio-economic plight.
Accusing the government for neglecting the
communities, the petitioner has said, "The state is
perpetrating the hidden apartheid against the DTNT communities
and, therefore, it is not enumerating them in the ongoing
He has said their enumeration would enable the
government formulate special programmes and welfare schemes
for the oppressed communities on the lines of the benefits
being enjoyed by the SCs and STs.
"They are the destitutes without any permanent abode
to live. They do not have land, education, skill and knowledge
of the present day advanced world and millions of them are
sick and malnourished," the petition has said, adding, "DTNT
are the neglected communities. They are under the stigma of
criminality and untouchability by birth since pre-independent