The Supreme Court on May 15 turned down a plea seeking directions to include details of missing persons from every household in the census.
A Bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala said the relief sought in the plea relates to a matter of policy.
"Who are we to direct include this and include that? It is a policy issue. The court is not inclined to interfere under Article 32 of the Constitution. Dismissed," the Bench said.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by the Social and Evangelical Association for Love (SEAL) seeking steps to insert a question in the upcoming census seeking details of the missing persons from every household.
The plea also sought directions to advise police to obtain the details and biological samples from unidentified deceased bodies from all over India for forensic and DNA profiling and matching with the kinship samples.
"The petitioner having worked in this field is well aware that the actual number of missing persons is much higher than that mentioned in the National Crime Records Bureau report.
"A huge number of missing cases go unreported to the authorities primarily due to lack of awareness of procedures requisite for lodging a missing complaint or due to the fear that filing a complaint will impact the reputation of the family and lead to many hassles," the plea, filed through advocate Robin Raju, said.
Officials had said in January that the exercise to carry out the decennial census has been further postponed at least till September 30.
The housing listing phase of the census and the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR) were scheduled to be carried out across the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020, but were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a communication to all States, the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India conveyed that the date of freezing of administrative boundaries has been extended till June 30.
According to norms, census can be conducted only three months after the freezing of boundary limits of administrative units such as districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas and police stations.