New Delhi, October 3
A day after the Bihar Government released the data of caste survey in the state, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will take up on October 6 petitions challenging the validity of the entire exercise.
A Bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna – which had earlier refused to stay the Bihar caste survey – said it will hear the petitions on Friday after the petitioners’ counsel mentioned the matter and informed it that the Bihar Government has already published the caste survey data.
According to the data released barely months before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Other Backward Classes (27.1 per cent) and Extremely Backward Classes (36 per cent) constituted 63 per cent of Bihar’s total population which stood at a little over 13.07 crore. Scheduled Castes accounted for 19.65 per cent, the caste survey data revealed.
’Ek Soch Ek Paryas’ – an NGO and Nalanda resident Akhilesh Kumar have challenged the August 1 verdict of the Patna High Court upholding the June 6, 2022 notification for caste survey.
The petitioner contended that it was actually a census which in terms of the constitutional mandate, only the Union Government was empowered to conduct. They said the nature of information sought in the survey violated the right to privacy of the respondents.
The Patna High Court had on August 1 rejected petitions challenging the caste survey, saying, “We find the action of the state to be perfectly valid, initiated with due competence, with the legitimate aim of providing development with justice.”
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