Dalit Groups Want Justice Goel Out of NGT: Paswan to Rajnath Singh

Several SC/ST organisations have called for a protest on 9 August against his appointment.

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Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Pawsan has written to Rajnath Singh, seeking the removal of retired Justice AK Goel as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman on behalf of the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha (AIAM),The Indian Express reported, since he was the judge who "ruled against" the SC/ST Act in March this year.

On Monday, 23 July, the LJP leader said that several Dalit MPs had expressed concern over the "wrong message" sent by the appointment of Justice Goel. Goel retired from the Supreme Court on 6 July and was appointed NGT chairman that very day by the government.


Several SC/ST organisations have called for a protest on 9 August against his appointment.

The ‘Demands’

According to The Indian Express, the letter puts forth the demand that the Dalit representation in the higher judiciary be increased, especially in the Supreme Court which does not have a single Dalit judge.

Parliament should bring in a law that ensures reservation for SC, ST, OBC and women in the high courts and the Supreme Court.
Paswan in his letter 

The collegium system of appointment of judges was held responsible for the same. The letter also demands reservation in the private sector and put an end to outsourcing of Class-III and Class-IV jobs. Most importantly, it urges the government to rethink the lateral entry policy in the bureaucracy that bypasses the UPSC process and scuttles reservation.


AIAM chairperson Ashok Bharti told The Indian Express:

While thousands of SC/ST protesters were arrested all over in the aftermath of the April 2 bandh against the apex court ruling, Justice AK Goel, who gave the order, has been rewarded by the government with a post-retirement posting as the National Green Tribunal chairperson.

Concurring with Paswan, BJP MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj told The Indian Express:

There are many issues that are causing of this disgruntlement. The foundation is the lack of jobs for Dalits with recruitment almost frozen in the government sector. And now the UGC’s new guidelines have made it almost impossible for them to get teaching jobs too. There has to be reservation in private sector. This frustration over lack of jobs was evident during the 2 April bandh when the youth came out in large numbers.
Udit Raj

Justice Goel and Justice UU Lalit comprised the two-judge Supreme Court bench that, on 20 March, laid down stringent safeguards under the Act including preliminary enquiry before the registration of a case. In essence, this judgement diluted the essence of a special law designed for their safety.

Following the judgement, a countrywide Dalit agitation was planned in April against the SC ruling, resulting in violence.


Government Warned of Agitation

In a separate letter to the Prime Minister, these demands have been reiterated by Paswan's son, Lok Sabha MP Chirag Paswan. He also warned the government of agitations stronger than those held in April this year, The Hindu reported.

This time the protests could get fiercer and sharper. Justice AK Goel’s judgement in the Supreme Court rendered SC/ST ACT ineffectual. After his retirement, he has been appointed as chairman of National Green Tribunal. This has sent out a message to the SC/ST community that our government has awarded Justice Goel for his judgement.
Chirag Paswan

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