Shashi Tharoor, MP, has urged the State government to enact an anti-discrimination law.
Mr. Tharoor has written to Minister for Law P. Rajeeve in this regard with a draft Bill, saying that a State legislation will help plug gaps in the legal framework on discrimination.
Although the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth, discrimination is still highly prevalent in society, especially in the private sector, a statement issued by Mr . Tharoor’s office said.
“The enactment of such a law would be a historic step as it would be the largest expansion of civil rights in India since the enforcement of the Constitution,” it said, adding that other States would be encouraged to follow suit if Kerala took the step.
The draft Bill by Mr. Tharoor prohibits discrimination on the basis of caste, race, ethnicity, descent, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, religious identity, tribe, disability, linguistic identity, HIV-status, nationality, marital status, dietary preference, skin tone, physical appearance, place of residence, place of birth and age.
The UDF and the LDF have acknowledged the need for an anti-discrimination law, Mr. Tharoor said. The CPI(M) manifesto in 2019 promised the enactment of a special law to deal with discrimination in educational institutions and workplaces. A similar proposal was mentioned in the UDF manifesto for the 2021 Assembly polls, according to Mr. Tharoor.
“In the UPA era, the Union Cabinet had approved a proposal to introduce an anti-discrimination law at the national level in February, 2014. However, soon after the NDA came to power, this proposal was not taken forward,” he noted.