Concessions made by Government Equalities Office To ACLCGeneral Press Release
6th September 2017
ACLC has been has been making representations about the current caste consultation to Her Majesty’s Government (HMG). As a result of representations, we have already secured an extension of the consultation deadline to 18 September 2017. After other representations on the conduct of the consultation, including the issue of translations into community languages , ACLC were invited to the Government Equalities Office (GEO) to discuss outstanding issues.
We can announce at the meeting between the ACLC and GEO on 4 September 2017 that the GEO conceded the following:
- Despite some prevarication on the issue by various Hindu community organisations as well as the GEO, the GEO has now conceded that respondents to the consultation may choose to reject both options (case law as well as legislation), which ACLC advocates. GEO confirmed that responses in accordance with ACLC‘s recommendations to date will not be treated as invalid.
- The GEO has also conceded that future parliamentary legislation would not only be able to repeal the current obligation on HMG to implement the clause of caste in section 9(5) of the Equality Act but also to override the effects of the case law by obliging courts not to interpret race or ethnicity so as to include caste.
These clarifications confirm that the stance taken by several leading Hindu organisations’ including the Hindu Forum of Britain, National Council of Hindu Temples (UK), Hindu Council UK, Hindu Council of Birmingham, Hindu Forum of Walsall, Hindu Matters in Britain and Ethnic Minority Foundation, that the case law cannot be overridden by parliament (and by implication must be accepted), is erroneous and misleading. ACLC has consistently held that these organisations were providing advice in error and we now have confirmation of that from HMG. ACLC has not seen the guidance issued by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) or Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and understand that they are encouraging their members to respond but believe it would be to accept case law. To understand why it is important to repeal BOTH the legislation and case law, please click here.
Those wishing to revise their submissions in order to resubmit them in light of the above confirmations and by using the templates ACLC has prepared (see here for short version), which now stand as the only authentic guidance consultation responses, should contact Mr Mukesh Naker at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on how best to do so.
ACLC has expressed other deep reservations to the GEO about the caste law and the conduct of the consultation, and several matters remain outstanding. ACLC will be providing updates as matters develop further.
Notes to Editors
The Anti Caste Legislation Committee (ACLC) was established in Leicester on Sunday 7th April 2013, by over 100 organisations representing over 250,000 Hindus & Jains coming together to take a robust position on caste legislation.
ACLC has over the years written a number of important briefing papers on the impact of caste legislation. This covers impacts on individuals, dharmic organisations and businesses. Please see here and here.