SC refuses to stay Patna HC order halting caste survey in Bihar

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the Patna High Court order which halted the caste survey being conducting by the Bihar government.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Rajesh Bindal said it would have to examine if the exercise being carried out is a census in garb of survey.

“We are making it clear, this is not a case where we can grant you interim relief,” the bench said.

The apex court noted that the high court had posted the hearing of the main petition on July 3.

“We direct that this petition be listed on July 14. If for any reason, the hearing of the writ petition does not commence before the next date, we will hear further submission canvassed by the senior counsel for the petitioner (Bihar),” the bench said.

In an appeal filed before the top court against the May 4 order of the high court, the Bihar government had said the stay will adversely affect the entire exercise.

The state government said the collection of caste-based data is a constitutional mandate under Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution.

The first round of caste survey in Bihar was conducted between January 7 and 21. The second round started on April 15 and was supposed to continue till May 15.

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