The Path to Equality

2006

‘No Escape: Caste Discrimination in the UK’ is published featuring several case studies with clear evidence of caste discrimination in the UK.

2007

DSN-UK and Castewatch UK assisted by Dr Annapurna Waughray make a legal submission to the Discrimination Law Review set up to scrutinize equalities and discrimination legislation due to be harmonized into a Single Equalities Bill. We urged them to ensure legislative protection against caste discrimination.

2008

A petition was presented to No.10 after it received over 30,000 signatories on Change.com.

2009

Further evidence of caste discrimination in the UK is published in the ACDA report ‘Hidden Apartheid; Voice of the Community’.

2010

An historic meeting takes place in the House of Lords – over 100 people take part to urge the then Labour Government to include caste in their flagship Equality Act.

 

The Equality Act receives Royal Assent with an order-making power that should evidence come to the light of caste discrimination in the UK, the Minister may amend Section 9(5)(a) ‘so as to provide for caste to be an aspect of race’.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits was constituted with the aim to draw attention to the discrimination against Dalits wherever it occurs and support efforts to eliminate it.

The Government -commissioned research undertaken by the National Institute on Economic and Social Research (NIESR) is published with a clear recommendation that ‘Anti-discrimination legislation would provide access to redress for victims. It would also prompt employers, educators and providers of goods and services to develop non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.’

2011

Coalition Government ignores the findings of NIESR and stalls activation of the legislation.

A shadow report for presentation at the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which reviews the UK is prepared.

2012

The government released a statement that it would not enforce legislative measures, but instead introduce an educational programme to address caste discrimination in the UK.

 

2013

The first demonstration to protest about the Governments’ inaction on caste discrimination took place in March.

 

 

The second demonstration took place on 23 April. The same day the Government announced by its own amendment effected by section 97 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, the ability for caste to become an aspect of race. It then became an obligation for the Government to so legislate. The amended was passed by both Houses of Parliament.

In July 2013, the government introduced a timetable that set out a series of steps, including a public consultation, intended to lead to the enactment of this caste legislation in the summer of 2015.

2014

Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on caste discrimination was published in spring, highlighting that:

although it has been ruled by the Employment Tribunal in one case that caste is already incorporated within the protected characteristic of race, the interpretative approach is at present not established. A lower court or tribunal decision is not binding precedent, consistency of outcome in future cases would not be guaranteed, and the principle will remain somewhat precarious. Even a binding precedent can be overturned until a decision is made at the Supreme Court’.

In Tirkey v. Chandhok (ET/3400174/13), 24 January 2014, the appeal tribunal noted that caste discrimination can constitute unlawful race discrimination in certain contexts and that caste should be an aspect of race, but that this will only be so if at least one of the factual circumstances that make a claimant describable as being of a particular caste falls within the scope of the existing definition of race.

2015

During the General Election campaign the Liberal Democrats include specific reference to ensuring legal protection against caste discrimination in their manifesto pledge. The Labour Party includes it in a policy statement.

A leaflet in the run up to that same election appeared in a London constituency accusing the Labour candidate of branding British Hindus as “casteists”. It called on them to support the Conservatives. The publisher of the leaflet was reported to the Charity Commission.

2016

DSN-UK instructed well known solicitors Mishcon de Reya to write a pre-action letter to the Minister for Women & Equalities, Justine Greening MP in advance of a Judicial Review to challenge the long delay to the Government timetable to implementation of the legislation.

Response from the Minister pledged to undertake the long awaited Public Consultation originally scheduled for 2014.

2017

Public Consultation launched with a significant change to the goal posts – no longer asking ‘how’ the legislation to outlaw caste should be implemented, but ‘whether’ it should be implemented at all!

2018

Six months after the deadline for submissions to the consultation, the Minister for Women & Equalities, Penny Mordaunt MP announces the Government’s unprecedented decision to repeal the legislation it has yet to implement.

2019

Government Equalities Office issues its draft Guidance to address caste-based discrimination for employers, employees and educational institutions. This has yet to be approved or implemented.