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Bihar Govt Orders Resumption Of Caste Survey After Patna High Court Rejects Pleas Challenging It

The Patna High Court said that the caste survey was 'perfectly valid, initiated with due competence, with the legitimate aim of providing development with justice'.

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during Monsoon Session at Bihar Assembly in Patna.
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After the Patna High Court on Tuesday rejected petitions challenging the Bihar caste survey, the Bihar government ordered the resumption of the exercise. 

The Nitish Kumar-led government ordered the caste survey last year that began this year. The nationwide caste census is an issue of convergence for the 26 Opposition parties comprising the INDIA coalition. 

In May, the Patna HC had stayed the caste survey after petitions were filed against it. The court at the time said that the petitioners had "made out a prima facie case against the continuation of the process of caste-based survey". However, the HC in its judgement on Tuesday said that the caste survey was "perfectly valid, initiated with due competence, with the legitimate aim of providing development with justice".

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Following the Patna High Court judgement, the Bihar government ordered the resumption of the caste survey, reported ANI. 

In its order in Hindi to all district magistrates (DMs), shared by ANI, the Bihar government said that the government order stopping the caste survey, which was issued after the High Court stayed the exercise in May, stands withdrawn and the officials restart the exercise. 

"Kindly ensure utmost priority to this," said the government order signed by Md. Sohail, Secretary, General Administration Department, Government of Bihar. 

Senior Advocate Dinu Kumar, representing some of the petitioners, said they would approach the Supreme Court against the High Court judgement. 

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The Opposition parties in Bihar, which are also part of the INDIA bloc, have made caste survey central to its agenda. In reactions to the High Court judgement, the parties took potshots at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Notably, the Bihar government ordered the caste survey only when the BJP-led Union government made it clear that it will not have a nationwide caste census. However, as the Opposition lobbed potshots at it, the BJP deflected the blows was pointing out that the BJP in Bihar "always supported" the caste survey. 

"The BJP was left busy deflecting the blows, pointing out that it had "always supported" the caste survey, and backed it when the Cabinet nod came for the exercise, while the party still shared power in the state," reported PTI. 

The caste census was also mentioned in the resolution of INDIA bloc passed in Bengaluru last month. 

"We have come together to defeat the hatred and violence being manufactured against minorities; stop the rising crimes against women, Dalits, adivasis and Kashmiri Pandits; demand a fair hearing for all socially, educationally and economically backward communities; and, as a first step, implement the caste census," said the resolution passed by the 26 Opposition parties in Bengaluru, which said they passed it "in one voice" at the meeting.

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