UK`s House of Lords clears measure to end caste prejudice
London: In a "historic" step, British
Parliament has moved closer to amending equality laws to
declare as illegal caste-based discrimination, which is also
prevalent in India, after the House of Lords cleared the
The Equality Bill -- which unites the various strands of
diversity legislation, outlaws age discrimination and requires
businesses to report on the gender pay gap -- will now face
final consideration by the House of Commons prior to receiving
It is expected to become law before the general election
expected in early May.
The House of Commons will consider the amendments
suggested by the House of Lords on April 6.
Amendments made by the House of Lords included a power to
outlaw discrimination on the basis of caste; a ban on asking
for health and disability information prior to making a job
offer; and removing the ban on civil partnership ceremonies
taking place in religious premises.
There has been mounting evidence of the prevalence
of caste-based discrimination among people with origins in the
After refusing to amend the laws for some years on the
ground that there was no evidence of such practice in Britain,
the government has now accepted that discrimination on grounds
of caste may be happening.
Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, said:
"I`m pleased that the Equality Bill has completed its third
reading in the House of Lords. This is a historic piece of
legislation that contains a range of new rights, powers and
obligations to help the drive towards equality, including
tackling the overarching inequality caused by where you are
born and what your parents do for a living."
The third reading is the final stage at which a bill can
be amended before it becomes law.
Baroness Thornton has commissioned the National
Institute of Economic and Social Research to conduct research
into the subject.
Based on the evidence and research presented in the
report, the government is expected to amend equality laws and
initiate measures to prevent caste-based discrimination in the
same way as discrimination on grounds of sex, colour,
religion, age and sexual orientation.
Lord Avebury, who belongs to the Liberal Democrats group,
had moved the amendment to the Equalities Bill 2009, and said
he believed the research would "conclusively prove that caste
discrimination does occur in the fields covered by the bill".
Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the
National Secular Society, said: "The blight of caste
discrimination, under which millions in India are regarded as
`untouchable`, has spread to this country virtually
In November 2009, research conducted by academics at the
universities of Manchester, Hertfordshire and Manchester
Metropolitan University said tens of thousands of people with
origins in the Indian sub-continent faced caste discrimination
The new study, whose main conclusion is that there
is considerable evidence of caste-based discrimination among
the Asians in Britain, was coordinated by the Anti-Caste
Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) and included academics from
The report, titled `Voice of the Community ? A Study
into Caste and Caste Discrimination in the UK`, says that the
caste system is widespread and that it affects tens of
thousands of people in the workplace, the classroom and even
the doctor`s surgery.
The study says: "There is clear evidence from the
survey and the focus groups that the caste system has been
imported into the UK with the Asian diaspora and that the
associated caste discrimination affects citizens in ways
beyond personal choices and social interaction.
"There is a danger that if the UK government does not
effectively accept and deal with the issue of caste
discrimination the problem will grow unchecked."
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- DNA analysis of rising water crisis in India!
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- Check mahresult.nic.in for Maharashtra HSC Result 2015 to be announced at 1 pm on May 27
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt