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Big relief to Bihar government from Supreme Court, all petitions against caste census dismissed

Pankaj Prasad
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has permitted the petitioners to approach the concerned High Court and take appropriate steps as per law.

The Supreme Court declined to entertain various petitions challenging the Bihar government's decision to conduct caste-based census in Bihar. The Court has permitted the petitioners to approach the concerned High Court and take appropriate steps as per law. During the hearing, a bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath said that there is no merit in the petitions, hence they are dismissed. The bench granted exemption that the petitioners may approach the concerned High Court.

'...so this is a petition filed with an intention to gain popularity' 

The bench told the counsel for the petitioners that it is a petition filed with an intention to gain popularity. How can we issue instructions as to how much reservation should be given to which caste? Sorry, we cannot issue such directions and cannot hear these petitions.

Supreme Court was hearing three petitions

Actually, the Supreme Court was hearing three petitions on this issue, one of which was filed by a non-governmental organization. The court said that the petitioners can approach the Patna High Court. Significantly, a petitioner had requested for the matter to be listed for urgent hearing, on which the apex court had said on January 11 that it would hear the matter on January 20.

What was said in the petition?

A petition was filed by Akhilesh Kumar, a resident of Bihar. It said that the notification of caste census is against the basic spirit and it is a violation of the basic structure of the constitution. The petition sought to quash the notification of the caste census. Apart from this, an organization named Hindu Sena also filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding a stay on the notification of caste census. It was alleged in this petition that by conducting the caste census, the Bihar government wants to break the unity and integrity of the country.

Caste based survey has started

It is noteworthy that the Nitish Kumar government of Bihar had issued the notification of caste census on June 6. At the same time, the caste-based survey has started from January 7. The State Government has entrusted the responsibility of conducting this survey to the General Administration Department. Under this, the government is digitally collecting the data of every family through a mobile phone app. This caste survey will be done in two phases. The first phase will start from January 7. In this survey, there will be questions related to the name of the family members, their caste, place of birth and number of family members. Along with this, questions related to people's economic status and income will also be asked in this survey.  

Bihar government will spend around Rs 500 crore on the survey

The second phase of caste survey will start from April 1 to April 30. During this, data related to people's caste, their sub-caste and religion will be collected. The Bihar government has set a target to complete the caste survey work by 2023. The government will spend around Rs 500 crore on this survey.