SC refuses to entertain pleas on Bihar’s decision to hold caste-based census

The petitioner Akhilesh Kumar through his advocates Barun Kumar Sinha and Abhishek had said that the decision of the State of Bihar is illegal, arbitrary, irrational, unconstitutional and without the authority of law.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain various pleas challenging the Bihar Government’s decision to conduct a caste-based census across the state.

A bench of justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath, however, granted liberty to petitioners to approach the concerned High Court and seek appropriate remedies as per law.

The court remarked that this is a publicity interest litigation. It also noted that if such petitions were allowed then how the concerned authorities would determine the number of reservations to be granted.

Three separate petitions were filed related to similar issues in the Supreme Court.

One was filed by Ek Soch Ek Prayas, the second one by a social worker Akhilesh Kumar and the third one by Vishnu Gupta National President of Hindu Sena.

The plea moved by Vishnu Gupta National President of Hindu Sena sought to quash the notification dated June 6 2022 issued by the Deputy Secretary, Government of Bihar, whereby the State Government of Bihar has notified its decision to conduct a caste-based census across the State of Bihar.

The Petitioner said that the impugned notification and decision of the State of Bihar is “unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, irrational, discriminatory, unreasonable and without any authority of law”.

The petition mentioned about the Varna system, which according to the petitioner refers to the social stratification based on the Varna. Four basic categories are defined under this system – Brahmins (priests, teachers, intellectuals), Kshatriyas (warriors, kings, administrators), Vaishyas (agriculturalists, traders, farmers) and Shudras (workers, labourers, artisans) and every Varna consisted of multiple Jatis.

The petitioner blamed the Britishers and said that the British while ruling India needed to segregate the society for the purpose of smooth governance and in this regard, they invented this colonial construct of Caste.

One of the petitions was moved in the top court recently by a social worker Akhilesh Kumar through Advocates Barun Kumar Sinha and Abhishek, who, in his petition, said, “That the cause of action arose on/from the impugned Notification dated June 6, 2022, issued by Deputy Secretary, Government of Bihar, whereby the decision of the Government to conduct caste census has been communicated to the media and public at large.”

The petitioner Akhilesh Kumar through his advocates Barun Kumar Sinha and Abhishek had said that the decision of the State of Bihar is illegal, arbitrary, irrational, unconstitutional and without the authority of law.

According to the petitioner’s submission, there are more than 200 castes in Bihar, which are classified as General Category, OBC (Other Backward Class), EBC (Economically Backward Class), Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.

As per the plea, in the state of Bihar, there are 113 castes which are known as OBC and EBC, eight castes are included in the category of Upper Caste, there are about 22 sub-castes which are included in the Scheduled Caste category and there are about 29 Sub Castes which are included in the scheduled category.

“The impugned Notification accords differential treatment without intelligible differentia to the illegal decision of State of Bihar is illegal, arbitrary irrational and unconstitutional,” the petitioner Akhilesh Kumar said, urging the top court to issue a direction for quashing the impugned Notification dated June 6, 2022, and asked to direct the authority concerned to refrain from conducting the caste census as it is against the basic structure of the Constitution of India.

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