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SC to hear pleas on Patna HC's caste survey nod on Oct 6

Source: PTI
October 03, 2023 13:38 IST
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it will hear on October 6 pleas challenging the Patna high court's August 1 order giving the go-ahead for a caste survey in Bihar. 

IMAGE: Bihar Additional Chief Secretary Vivek Kumar Singh releases the caste-based census results at the Old Secretariat, Patna, January 2, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that it has listed the pleas for hearing. 

The bench made the remark after Mehta sought adjournment in a different matter pertaining to the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd and sought listing it on Friday.

On Monday, the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar released the findings of its much-awaited caste survey months ahead of the 2024 parliamentary elections, which revealed that OBCs and EBCs constitute a whopping 63 per cent of the state's total population.


According to the data released, the state's total population stood at a little over 13.07 crore, out of which the Extremely Backward Classes (36 per cent) were the largest social segment followed by the Other Backward Classes at 27.13 per cent.

The survey also stated that Yadavs, the OBC group to which Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav belongs, were the largest in terms of the population, accounting for 14.27 per cent of the total.

Dalits, also known as the Scheduled Castes, accounted for 19.65 per cent of the total population in the state, which is also home to nearly 22 lakh (1.68 per cent) people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes.

On September 6, the top court had deferred for October 3 the hearing on pleas challenging the Patna High Court's August 1 order giving the go-ahead for a caste survey in Bihar.

On August 7, the top court had refused to stay the Patna high court's order giving the go-ahead for a caste survey in Bihar, and deferred the hearing on petitions challenging it to August 14.

Besides a plea by NGO 'Ek Soch Ek Paryas', several other petitions have been filed including one by Nalanda resident Akhilesh Kumar, who has contended that the notification issued by the state government for the exercise is against the constitutional mandate.

Kumar's petition says in terms of the constitutional mandate, only the Union government is empowered to conduct a census.

The high court had said in its 101-page verdict, "We find the action of the state to be perfectly valid, initiated with due competence with the legitimate aim of providing development with justice."

A day after the high court held the caste survey as "valid", the state government had swung into action and suspended all ongoing training programmes for teachers so they can be engaged for early completion of the exercise.

The Nitish Kumar government had said on August 25 that the survey has been completed and data will be made public soon.

Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, who represents a petitioner in the case, had opposed making the data public, contending it will infringe people's right to privacy. 

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