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In this article, Ruchika Daga discusses what to do if you see racial behaviour in India and where can you complain.

What is Racial discrimination?

Racial discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of ancestry or physical or cultural characteristics associated with a certain race, such as skin colour, hair texture or styles, or certain facial features. Racial separation is a conviction of prevalence of one race over another, which regularly offer ascent to segregation and bias towards individuals in view of their race or ethnicity. Today, in the dynamic culture the expression “prejudice” does not effortlessly fall under a solitary definition. Racial segregation happens when a man is dealt with less positively, or not given the equivalent open doors, as others in a comparative circumstance, as a result of their race, the nation where they were conceived, their ethnic starting point or their skin shading.

Racial Discrimination in India

According to the World Values Survey, the second most racist country is India, where people from other countries are treated differently by some Indian people, based both on skin colour and country of origin. African people are especially affected by racism in India, denied living accommodations and even attacked and killed. In India, prejudice is honed in a few quarters and by a few Indians. This is clear in the way in which we are dealt with when we look for augmentation for our visas, in the issues we look in getting a settlement in the nation, and in the general treatment of survey us with doubt. The bias and generalizations are very obvious. When we look for convenience, most landowners turn out with an insistent ‘no’ without offering any clarification. We are left with minimal decision and manage with what we get. We are looked at a circumstance where we can’t speak with our neighbours And all that is just because of racial discrimination practised in India.

Filing a police complaint

In case you are the victim of a cognizable offence, the first step you would take is to approach the police. A detailed procedure for filing criminal complaints has been laid down in India, as per the Criminal Procedure Code.

  • File an FIR (First Information Report) at the police station, which is a written document prepared by the police on receiving information of the crime.
  • The police have a duty to hear the aggrieved and direct him to the District Magistrate for further action.
  • FIR can be filed if you are the person against whom the crime has been committed or if you know about an offence that has been committed.
  • There are no charges for filing an FIR, it is an essential document that sets the criminal justice in process

Making a complaint with an NGO working against racial discrimination

There are many NGO’s in India which works against racial discrimination and protect the interest of the victims who face racism in India. Anyone who is a victim or a representative of a victim can complain to an NGO against the same. A benefit of making a complaint to an NGO is that it does not charge any fee for resolving the issue of racism which will encourage the poor and needy to make a complaint who usually never file a complaint in a legal procedure as that would cost a lot for them.

There are online complaint forms on the sites of the NGOs which a victim can file and the can give a detail description of the incident without any hesitation as the NGOs maintain secrecy. The online, as well as offline forms for making complaint, contain certain details which are necessary to be filled in for complaining against Racism;

  • Complainant details
  • Victim’s details
  • Incident details
  • Relief details

The advantage of making a complaint to an NGO will save time and money that is wasted in the legal procedure and will resolve the matter speedily and also reduce the pressure on courts.

Different shades of racism in India

Unlike what politicians think racism is not always about the colour factor racism, there are many kinds of racial discrimination practised in India even today like — skin colour, shape of lips, hair, etc. However, it is also true that skin colour became a dominant factor from the 18th century onwards.

In a country as diverse and varied as India, Awareness about all cultures and regions is not possible at all. This ignorance gives rise to racial discrimination, it can have grave consequences. Private Member Bill introduced in Parliament hopes to get rid of some of this ignorance by raising awareness about the culture, history, and traditions of Northeast India. This bill focuses on the compulsory teaching of North-East culture in Educational Institutions’, which was introduced by the Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh, Ninong Ering, This bill is a big step towards overcoming the obstacles of racial discrimination by introducing the study of Northeast culture at the school level.

Types of Racial Discrimination in India

Direct discrimination: This happens when somebody treats you more regrettable than someone else in a comparable circumstance in view of your race.

For illustration – if a letting organization would not let a level to you in view of your race, this would be immediate race separation

Indirect discrimination: This happens when an association has a specific approach or method for working that puts individuals of your racial gathering at a disadvantage.

For illustration – a hairdresser declines to appoint as a stylist that cover their own particular hair. This would put any Muslim ladies or Sikh men who cover their hair off guard while applying for a position as a stylist.

In some cases, indirect race segregation can be allowed if the association or manager can show to demonstrate that there is a justifiable reason purpose behind the separation. This is known as target support.

In case, a Somalian refugee searcher tries to open a ledger however the bank expresses that so as to be qualified you need to be occupant in the UK for a year and have a lasting location. The Somalian man can’t open a ledger. The bank would need to demonstrate that its approach was essential for business reasons, (for example, to avoid misrepresentation) and that there was no viable option.

Harassment: Harassment happens when somebody makes you feel humiliated, annoyed or corrupted.

For illustration – a youthful British Asian man at work continues being known as a bigot name by associates. His associates say it is simply chit-chat, yet the representative is offended and humiliated by it. Provocation can never be legitimized. However if an association or boss can demonstrate that it did all that it could do to prevent individuals who work in it, you won’t have the capacity to make a claim for harassment against it.


This is the point at which you are treated very badly on the grounds that you have complained about the racial discrimination faced under the Equality To act or likewise happen in the case when you are supporting somebody who has made a protest of race-related separation.

For illustration – the young fellow in the case above needs to make a formal protestation about his treatment. His chief debilitates to sack him unless he drops the objection.

Current status of racism law in India

The Home Ministry proposes to include a provision in Section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code.

  • As of late, Shashi Tharoor, MP, presented the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill 2016. The law delivers the need to secure everybody who is liable to all types of out of line separation under a solitary extensive enactment which ought to be nonpartisan and free from inclination. The bill manages direct separation and indirect separation, badgering, isolation, biased brutality, exploitation. The focal government is yet to send the Bill to a parliamentary standing board of trustees for a more extensive open interview and investigation and get ready for its institution.
  • In 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs had asked the Delhi High Court to present two new sections which will control racial discrimination.

This section was first added in the Code by the Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1898 with a view to deal with certain other matters relating to breach of public tranquillity which was not covered in the original Indian Penal Code. The jurisdiction of this Section 153(A) is widened so as to make the promotion of disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities punishable. The offence on moral turpitude is also covered in this section. The offence is a cognizable offence and the punishment for the same may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. However, the punishment of the offence committed in a place of worship is enhanced up to five years and fine.

Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill, 2016

Anti Discrimination and Equality bill is made to ensure equality to every citizen of the country by providing protection against all forms of social discrimination. This Act may be called the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Act, 2016.

Making a complaint under this act

A complaint under this Act can be made by:

  • Any aggrieved person
  • If the aggrieved or distressed person is deceased, his near relative, including any unmarried or cohabiting spouse or partner or any person to whom the deceased had the intention to marry or enter into a romantic or sexual relationship.
  • An organisation which may represent the aggrieved person on his/her consent.
  • Where there exist more than one aggrieved or distressed person having the same interest, any of them acting on behalf of or for the benefit of all of them.

Provided that no complaint shall be entertained unless permitted by the Central Equality Commission or the State Equality Commission, which shall not give its permission unless it has taken reasonable measures to notify, either directly or through a notification in at least two local newspapers, all aggrieved persons or as many of them as is possible to do so And any person making a false complaint against a member of a disadvantaged or minority group under this Act shall be liable to pay exemplary/punitive damages to the person against whom the false complaint was made.

Interim relief for racial behaviour practised in India

If a prima facie (on the face of it) case of the breach of any duty imposed by this Act is made out in the submissions of the plaintiff, the State Equality Commission may order appropriate interim relief in favour of the plaintiff.

Provided that such interim relief should not be of a nature that is likely to cause serious prejudice to the respondent.

  • Interim relief may be granted ex parte (without even listening to the other side of the case) if warranted by the circumstances of the case.
  • Interim relief may include a protection order of the nature specified in sub-section (7) of section 33.


  • Any court may grant relief under this act affecting the parties to the proceedings, in addition to any other relief may be sought in such proceedings.
  • Any judgement made under this Act shall be enforceable at any place, even if that place falls outside the jurisdiction of the Commission that made such order.

Jurisdiction of High Court

The High Court has original jurisdiction so as to ultra vires between this Act and any other law in force. Any person who is aggrieved by any judgement of the Central or the State Equality Commission can file an appeal against the order of the High Court within whose jurisdiction the said Commission is located within forty-five days from the date on which the order was served upon to him.

What if a School/university discriminate on racial grounds?

  • You should first file a report to your local police as it is the violation of fundamental rights under article 15 of the Indian constitution Article 15(1) of the Constitution sets out that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them and the school or university would be liable for the same. Make sure the officer assigns a case number and take down any other relevant info, including the officer’s name.
  • You can file an online complaint to request the Department of Education to investigate any incidents.
  • The police will investigate the matter and then direct the case to the district court as required.

This is not just a frustrating issue to deal with but it’s a very scary one. Racism is a pervasive, troubling issue that we won’t solve with a single complaint or conversation, but there are resources out there, and when it’s time to use them, you want to know where to turn. Discrimination on racial grounds in schools hampers the education of the students and will ultimately hamper the growth of the country.

Restaurants/Cinemas discriminating on racial grounds

People are facing a lot of racism in restaurants, cinemas and many more public places even today.

Globally, most public and private spaces such as bars, cinema halls, and malls keep “rights of admission reserved.” This is apparently done to shun lawbreakers. In India, however, this is also a tool to maintain the class-exclusivity of the premises. People think only standard and well-dressed people should be allowed in their restaurants etc to maintain its standard and class. However, eateries cannot discriminate as long as they are getting paid.

Besides, under Article 15(2) of the Indian constitution prohibits restriction of any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, from accessing shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainment.


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