Supreme Court declines to entertain petitions on caste census

Bench asks petitioner to approach High Court concerned; Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar welcomes the decision saying those trying to stop the survey have been proven wrong

Updated - January 21, 2023 02:11 am IST

Published - January 20, 2023 04:41 pm IST - New Delhi

An enumerator marks a house during the caste census in Patna on January 7, 2023.

An enumerator marks a house during the caste census in Patna on January 7, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain various pleas challenging the State Government’s notification to conduct caste-based census in Bihar.

A Bench comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath was not impressed with the submissions made by the counsels on behalf of the petitioners and suspected their motivation to file the petition. At the outset Justice Gavai noted, “so, this is a publicity interest litigation?”

The court was concerned that “if this is granted then how will they (the State government) determine how reservation is to be granted?”

The petioners were then asked by the top court to file their petiotions in the High Court.

Three separate petitions were filed related to similar issues in the Supreme Court.

One was filed by Ek Soch Ek Prayas, the second one by a social worker Akhilesh Kumar and the third one by Vishnu Gupta National President of Hindu Sena.

Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi Yadav welcome SC’s decision

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav welcomed the apex court’s decision and called it in favour of the State government.

“Supreme Court has given a decision in our favour, it is in everyone’s interest. Caste-based census is the work of the Central government, we are doing it in the State. If we will have knowledge about everything, it will be easier for people’s development,” Mr. Kumar said.

Mr. Yadav said, “the petition was only for publicity. SC has said that as long as a survey doesn’t happen, how can it be known who should be given a reservation. It’s a victory for Bihar government. We welcome this order.

The Bihar Cabinet had decided to conduct the survey on June 2, 2022. The first phase of the survey began on January 7, 2023, and would continue till January 21. The second phase is from April.

Officials estimate the census would cover over 12 crore and more than 2.5 crore households across the State. The survey is likely to be over by May 21.

(With inputs from agencies)

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