Bihar govt directs all DMs to implement Patna HC decision on caste-based survey

Patna: In wake of Patna High Court’s interim stay on the caste-based survey on Thursday, the Bihar government has asked District Magistrates of all 38 districts to stop the exercise with immediate effect.

The letter, issued by the office of Deputy Secretary, General Administration Department, Rajnish Kumar, directed the District Magistrates to follow the decision of the high court and direct officials and employees to take necessary steps and not release any data to anyone.

As per the order, the division bench of Chief Justice Vinod Chandran and Justice Madhuresh Kumar said: “We are of the considered opinion that the petitioners have made out a prima facie case against the continuation process of the proposed caste-based survey as attempted by the state of Bihar. There is a question raised on data integrity and security which has to be more elaborately addressed by the state.”

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“We also have the opinion that the state has no power to carry out caste-based surveys in a manner it is fashioned now. It would amount to a census thus impinging upon the legislative power of the Parliament,” the HC said.

“We also see the notification that the government intends to share data with the leaders of different political parties of the state assembly. The bigger question arises here is the right of privacy which the Supreme Court has held to be a facet of right to life.

“In such circumstances, we have directed the state government to immediately stop the caste-based survey and ensure that the data already collected are secured and not shared with anybody till final orders on this writ petition,” the bench said.

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