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Centre Seeks Permission from Supreme Court for Bihar's Caste Census Affidavit, Acknowledges Potential Ramifications

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      23 August, 2023 01:03 AM      0 Comments
Centre Seeks Permission from Supreme Court for Bihar's Caste Census Affidavit, Acknowledges Potential Ramifications

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Monday told the Supreme Court the caste survey initiated by the Bihar government would have ramifications as it sought permission to file an affidavit in this regard.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S V N Bhatti gave one week's time to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for the purpose on a request made by him.

The bench, however, clarified that it does not intend to stay the publication of the Bihar survey unless a prima facie case is made out by the petitioners that require an interim order.

In his contention, Mehta said that the survey could have some consequences.

"We are not this way or that way. But this exercise may have some consequences,” he said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing one of the petitioners, asked the court to restrain the state government from publishing the data.

The top court said the collection of data is over now and the second is analysis of data collected during the survey, which is more difficult and problematic. The bench said, “Unless you (petitioners) are able to make out a prima facie case, we are not going to stay anything”.

The bench also said the state government had assured during the last hearing that it is not going to publish the data.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the Bihar government, contended that nothing should be recorded in the order and there should not be any restraint on his client.

The matter arose out of the challenge to the judgement of the Patna High Court which had on August 1 approved the Bihar government's decision of June 6, 2022 to conduct a caste census in the state.

The HC had said the exercise was perfectly valid, and (is) initiated with due competence, with the legitimate aim of providing ‘development with justice’; as proclaimed in the address to both Houses.

The pleas before the top court claimed the entire exercise was without authority, and legislative competence and reeked of mala fide. The petitioners said in terms of constitutional mandate, only the Union Government is empowered to conduct census.

The court fixed the matter for hearing August 28.



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