California State University professors Sunil Kumar and Praveen Sinha filed an appeal in Federal court last week in their case against their employer, California State University (CSU), which alleges that CSU’s non-discrimination policy, amended to single out ‘caste’ as a protected category, unconstitutionally singled out Indian origin and Hindu students and employees. 

On November 21 of last year, the district court entered an order dismissing Plaintiffs’ Due Process Claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and entering judgment for Defendant on Plaintiffs’ Establishment Clause claims.  

This appeal seeks to reverse the court’s order for three reasons, quoting from the brief:

1) “The district court improperly dismissed Plaintiffs’ Due Process Claims for lack of standing [as the evidence] showed that Plaintiffs suffered (and continue to suffer) the constitutionally sufficient harm of self-censorship due to CSU’s refusal to define caste, and the district court’s legal analysis on this issue is contrary to well-established case law.”

2) “The district court erred in dismissing Plaintiff’s Establishment Clause claims by ignoring critical facts and misapplying the law to hold that “[n]o reasonable reader would conclude that the Policy defines Hinduism to include a caste system.””

3) “The district court improperly dismissed Plaintiffs’ Free Exercise claims following CSU’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Plaintiffs alleged in their Amended Complaint that the Policy interferes with Plaintiffs’ participation in their religion and impermissibly defines religious doctrine. Accepting those allegations as true, as the law requires, the district court’s dismissal cannot be sustained.”

“The record is clear:  ‘caste’ was added to CSU’s non-discrimination policy for no other plausible reason than to intentionally target Hindus and define Hinduism in a constitutionally impermissible manner,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Managing Director. “This appeal is therefore necessary to protect the basic constitutional rights of not only professors Sunil Kumar and Praveen Sinha, but all Hindu faculty, staff, and students at CSU campuses throughout California.”

Representing Profs. Kumar and Sinha in the case is Fox Rothschild LLP, through lawyers Michael Twersky (based in Philadelphia) and John Shaeffer (based in Los Angeles), with Hindu American Foundation Executive Director Suhag Shuka, Esq., and Managing Director Samir Kalra, Esq. serving as ‘Of Counsel’.