SC to hear plea against Bihar govt’s move to conduct caste survey on January 20

PTI, Jan 11, 2023, 6:50 PM IST

The Supreme Court Wednesday agreed to hear on January 20 a plea against the Bihar government’s decision to conduct a caste census in the state. A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha posted the matter for hearing after a lawyer appearing for petitioner mentioned the matter.

”Let the case come up next Friday,” the bench said.

This is the second petition on the caste census which got underway on January 7.

Earlier, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the apex court through advocate Barun Kumar Sinha seeking quashing of the notification issued by deputy secretary, government of Bihar, for conducting a caste survey in the state and to restrain the authorities concerned from conducting the exercise.

The petitioner, Akhilesh Kumar, has sought quashing of the notification dated June 6, 2022 issued by the Bihar government.

The plea contended that the subject of the census falls in List 1 of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution and only the Centre has the power to hold the exercise.

The PIL has alleged that the notification violated Article 14 of the Constitution which provides for equality before law and equal protection under the law, adding that the notification was “illegal, arbitrary, irrational and unconstitutional”. “If the proclaimed purpose of the caste-based survey is to accommodate the people of State suffering caste persecution, the distinction on the basis of caste and country of origin is irrational and unjustified. None of these distinctions correspond with the ostensible purpose of the law,” the petition said.

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