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Caste Survey To Continue In Bihar, Patna High Court Dismisses All Petitions Challenging Census

The Patna High Court today dismissed pleas challenging the decision of the Bihar Government to conduct a caste-based survey in the state. The High Court has, in effect, paved the way for a caste-based survey in the state.

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First phase of much-hyped caste-based census in Bihar started on January 9, 2023
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The Patna High Court today dismissed pleas challenging the decision of the Bihar Government to conduct a caste-based survey in the state. The High Court has, in effect, paved the way for a caste-based survey in the state.

"The (Patna) High Court has dismissed all petitions (against caste census). We will challenge the verdict in Supreme Court," said advocate Dinu Kumar. 

On January 7, this year, the Bihar government started a statewide caste-based census, projected at a cost of Rs 500 crore, which was to be finalised by May 31. The JD(U) government had said it will use the data to formulate welfare policies. The decision for a caste census was taken by the Bihar cabinet on June 2 last year, months after the Centre ruled out such an exercise at a national level.

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Earlier, the Patna High Court had earlier put a hold on the caste census in the state. "Prima facie, we are of the opinion that the State has no power to carry out a caste-based survey, in the manner in which it is fashioned now, which would amount to a census, thus impinging upon the legislative power of the Union Parliament," the court noted. 

The Chief Justice-led bench had also called it a matter of 'grave concern' that the Government intends to share Census data with the leaders of different parties of the State Assembly, the ruling party and the opposition party. 

The Bihar chief minister had backed the Congress’ call for a nationwide caste census, saying it would be beneficial for all sections of society. The BJP unit in Bihar had also supported a resolution by the government but the central leadership did not respond.

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