Patna High Court Stays Caste Enumeration in Bihar with Immediate Effect

The Patna High Court on Thursday stayed the caste-based enumeration of the Nitish government in Bihar. A bench of Chief Justice Vinod Chandran ordered that the counting be stopped with immediate effect. Before this, there was a hearing in the High Court for two days regarding the matter. After this, the bench of Chief Justice Vinod Chandran had reserved the decision. After this decision, the Nitish government has got a big blow.

On the other hand, on caste enumeration, the Chief Minister said on Thursday that caste-based enumeration is being done unanimously. We have taken permission from the central government for this. Earlier we wanted caste-based census to be done in the whole country, but when the central government did not agree, we decided to conduct caste-based census-cum-economic survey.

On April 24, this matter reached the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had asked the petitioner to approach the Patna High Court. After this, the matter was heard in the High Court on 2 and 3 May. The first hearing in the case was to be held on Monday but the High Court adjourned the hearing to Tuesday as the counter affidavit filed by the government was not on record.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court advocate Aparajita Singh and High Court advocate Dinu Kumar were to present arguments in the High Court to declare caste enumeration unconstitutional. Advocate General (Advocate General) PK Shahi presented his side on behalf of the government. The court asked the Advocate General that what is the purpose of conducting caste based enumeration? Has any law been made regarding this? In reply, PK Shahi said that it was decided to conduct the caste census by passing a unanimous resolution in both the Houses. In view of the same, the cabinet gave its stamp on conducting the census. This is a policy decision of the state government. Provision has been made in the budget for this.

Petitioner’s lawyer Dinu Kumar said that what is the purpose of this caste-based enumeration? There is talk of spending Rs 500 crore in this, but what will be the result and who will be benefited. The government should tell that there is continuous talk of ending the caste system in the society, but who is being benefited by conducting caste enumeration? The government should answer this.

Quoting Article-37 of the Constitution, while defending the government, he said that it is the constitutional duty of the state government to get information about its citizens so that the benefits of welfare schemes can be extended to them. He said that no state is untouched by caste. Mungerilal Commission was formed earlier also for the information of castes. The calculation by the Bihar government is unconstitutional.

Government does not have data

PK Shahi also said that the government does not have any data of deprived society and economically weak people. That’s why caste data is necessary. He has also argued that this is not a cast census. This is caste census cum economic survey. The petitioner’s advocate told the Advocate General that your decision is politically motivated. All this is happening for political gains.

In response to this, the Advocate General said that every government works under politics. It is for vote bank. Every state and central government plans for the vote bank only. The actions of any government cannot be said to be away from the vote bank. The Chief Justice Bench of Patna High Court had reserved the decision after hearing the arguments of both the sides.

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