PIL plea wants inclusion of OBC category in census details

A view of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered notice to the Centre on a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to the government to include Other Backward Class (OBC) category in the House Listing Operation (HLO) and Population Enumeration (PE) before commencement of Census 2021.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi ordered notice to the Centre on the PIL petition filed by R. Thavamanidevi from Madurai, coordinator of All India OBC Coordination Committee (AIOCC), who sought a direction to the government to consider the representation sent by the committee to include the OBC category.

The petitioner said that after independence, the Census Act 1948 was passed and the census was carried out in two phases – House Listing Operation and Population Enumeration, using separate schedules for collection of information. The Central government decided to delete caste particulars from both the HLO and the PE, except for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Recommendations were made by various commissions, including Kaka Kalelkar Commission and Mandal Commission, to conduct caste census, but the authorities did not take into account the recommendations. Despite the constitutional mandate to provide adequate representation to the backward class, no efforts had been made to conduct OBC census.

The Registrar General and Census Commissioner had notified under the Census Act that the HLO of Census 2021 would take place from April 1 to September 30, 2020, and the Census Officers were instructed to collect information on 31 questions. However, due to COVID-19, the census operation was postponed sine die before the commencement.

She pointed out that while seeking information about the head of the household in question number 10, only SC/ST/others had been elicited and OBC had been omitted. The representation made by the AIOCC to include the OBC category before the commencement of the Census 2021 should be considered, she said.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 11:22:29 AM |

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