However, a recent Employment Tribunal judgement which allowed a claim of caste discrimination to proceed to a full hearing, indicates that caste comes under the general concept of "race" and is already protected under this recognised characteristic.
In Tirkey v Chandok, a domestic servant who was of the Adivasi people, who are regarded as a lower caste than that of her employers, claims that she was discriminated against throughout her employment by reason of her ethnic origins, race and religion.
In the judgement, the Tribunal considers the concept of "caste" and held that there is no comprehensive definition of race within the Equality Act, which "includes" ethnic origins. Considering the various authorities on this issue, it was noted that "ethnic origins" has been interpreted widely and a particular ethnic group need not be identified by, in biological terms, "a common racial stock", but also a long shared history and a cultural tradition of its own, as well as other factors such as common geographical original, common language or religion differing from neighbouring groups. It was held that caste was therefore already part of the protected characteristic of race, as the Claimant's case on caste was "inextricably linked" with her case on race and religious discrimination.
This case will now proceed to a full hearing on the facts, including the claimant's caste discrimination claim.