Caste Discrimination: A Study on Existing Law and Its Implementation on Inter-Caste Marriage of Dalits in Rukum, Western Nepal

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Dhami, Dharmendra Bahadur
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Global Campus of Human Rights
The right to marriage of Dalits is violated due to caste-based discrimination in Nepal. Despite the provision of the law, the inter-caste married couples face violence and difficulties in accessing justice. The Caste-Based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment) Act was introduced in 2011 to address the issue. However, since its establishment, nine death cases of Dalits have been reported due to inter-caste marriage. These cases call for the need to examine how the laws and policies are implemented by the concerned government authorities. Thus, this paper intends to: (1) investigate how the state implements the law on the right to the inter-caste marriage of Dalits, (2) identify the barriers in the implementation of the law that could be addressed and (3) find the gaps in the access to justice procedures under the law. The researcher in this qualitative research collected the data from the inter-caste married couples, police officers, government representatives, lawyers, non-governmental organisations and the National Dalit Commission. It is found from the findings that the challenges that occur in the implementation of the law and policies on the inter-caste marriage are: delaying and denying the registration of complaints of inter-caste married couples at the concerned police units, lack of protection of inter-caste married couples and lack of knowledge on the provisioned law. Moreover, there is also a challenge from the upper-caste people who do not recognise and respect the provisioned law due to their traditional discriminatory mindset. Therefore, along with the implementation of provision laws and policies, advocacy and campaigning are crucial to disseminate the law and change the community's perception of the right to marriage of Dalits.   Implication of the thesis: Firstly, this research helps in understanding the challenges in the implementation of the law and existing gaps that create difficulties in accessing justice to the victims, particularly the inter-caste married couples. Secondly, the suggested recommendations of the study help the policymakers in addressing the identified gaps. Lastly, the findings and recommendations of the research are useful for the NGOs and civil society organisations to pressurise the government through advocacy for making the concerned law implementing agencies serious and accountable. Keywords: caste-discrimination / inter-caste marriage / untouchability / socio-cultural exclusion / Dalits
Global Campus - Asia-Pacific.
APMA - Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Asia-Pacific, Mahidol University.
Second semester University: University of Colombo (Sri Lanka).
Nepal, marriage, caste system, discrimination