Supreme Court seeks government’s response on plea for caste census of backward classes

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the government on a petition to hold a caste-wise census of backward classes in 2021.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde issued notice to the Centre and Chairman of the National Commission for Backward Classes on a petition filed by G. Mallesh Yadav, from Telangana, and Alla Ramakrishna, a resident of Andhra Pradesh, for a national census on the basis of caste to identify and uplift the really backward among them.

“A caste can be, and quite often is, a social class in India… Caste represents an existing, identifiable social group or class encompassing an overwhelming majority of the country’s population,” the petition, represented by advocate G.S. Mani, contended.

Mr. Mani said the inclusion of backward classes in the State and Central Lists cannot be done mechanically. Forward castes and the creamy layer reaping the benefits of reservation should be excluded for the truly poor and downtrodden among backward classes.

“Most of the benefits are knocked up by away by forward castes and the creamy layer. That will leave the truly backward backward forever,” Mr. Mani argued from the petition.

The petition said a caste-wise census was necessary to give clarity on who among the backward classes actually deserve the benefits of reservation in jobs and education.

“The percentage of reservation for backward classes cannot be fixed without a caste-wise census,” the petition contended.

The plea said the Mandal Commission report does not stand in the way of a State action to uplift the weaker sections of the society. There was no bar on making further reservation for them.

Lack of caste-wise census has actually dented the efforts of the government to fix the budget for welfare schemes meant for backward classes, the petition claimed.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:28:36 AM |

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