Patna: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain requests against the caste survey in Bihar. Calling it “publicity interest litigation”, the court questioned why didn’t the petitioners go to Patna High Court in this matter. Three petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court against the caste headcount — one by an organisation called Ek Soch Ek Prayas, right wing outfit Hindu Sena, and a Bihar resident called Akhilesh Kumar.
The Supreme Court said on various pleas challenging the Bihar government’s decision to conduct caste-based census across the state, that the petitioners should approach the concerned High Court.
Supreme Court refuses to entertain various pleas challenging Bihar Government's decision to conduct caste-based census across the State.— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2023
The court grants liberty to petitioners to approach the concerned High Court and to seek appropriate remedies as per law. pic.twitter.com/9Ke8jZIYt9
The bench of the Supreme Court said that how can we issue instructions about how much reservation should be given to a particular caste. The judges said that we cannot issue such instructions. cannot and cannot entertain these petitions. The bench ordered that all the petitions are dismissed as withdrawn and liberty is given to find appropriate remedy in law.”
Notably, this issue was already heard in the Patna High Court when the petitioner’s contention that the state is conducting a caste-based census was rejected on the ground that the official notification in this regard says it’s a caste based ‘survey’
Hindu Sena has said in its petition that the Bihar government wants to “break the integrity and unity of India” by conducting a caste census.
There has been a demand to cancel the notification issued by the state government on June 6 for the caste survey in Bihar.
Akhilesh Kumar’s petition states that the official notification and the process are “illegal, arbitrary, irrational, unconstitutional and without authority of law”.
“The Constitution of India prohibits discrimination on the basis of race and caste. The state is under a constitutional obligation to eliminate caste strife and racial strife,” the petition said.
However, the Bihar government is getting the caste-based census done. The census is being conducted under the first phase from January 7 to January 21. Three separate petitions were filed regarding this. In this, the Hindu army and a person from Nalanda district approached the Supreme Court. There was a demand to cancel the Bihar government’s notification of June 6, 2022.
The Bihar government has got a big relief on this decision of the Supreme Court because the first phase of caste-based census is ending on January 21. The second phase will start from April 1. By May 31, the Bihar government has set a target to complete the work of caste-based enumeration.