Refusal to take caste data flouts Constitution: petitioner

The Kerala High Court on Monday admitted a writ petition seeking a directive to the Census Commissioner and the Union government to conduct a caste-based enumeration in the Census 2011.

Justice T.R. Ramachandran Nair issued notice to the Census commissioner, the Union government, the State government and the director, Census Operations, Kerala, while admitting a writ petition filed by V.R. Joshy, general secretary, Sree Narayana Samskarika Samithi, Thiruvananthapuram.

The petitioner pointed out that the former Backward Class Commission chairman, Kaka Kalekar, and the Mandal Commission had recommended a caste- and community-based census so that various constitutional provisions could be implemented.

In 1998, the former Census Commissioner had announced that the Union Welfare Ministry had mooted a proposal to conduct a caste-based enumeration in future national census. However, when the notification on the present census was published, there was no proposal to include caste in the enumeration. The petitioner said that including an additional question in the enumeration would suffice to take caste census. He said that in fact, the information gathered during the census was being used for taking policy decisions on the welfare of people. The refusal to take a caste data during the enumeration was patent violation of the mandatory provisions of the Constitution.

Article 340

The recommendation of the Kaka Kalekar and Mandal Commission recommendations were mandatory in view of Article 340 of the Constitution. In fact, socially and economically backward class citizens and weaker sections mentioned in various provisions of the Constitution could be identified and ascertained only through the census.

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