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Supreme Court To Hear Petitions Challenging Bihar's Caste Survey Verdict

A grassroots NGO and a concerned resident have taken the issue to the apex court, questioning the state government's powers in conducting the survey.

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Supreme Court of India
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In a significant legal development, the Supreme Court of India is set to hear two petitions challenging the verdict of the Patna High Court regarding the caste survey in Bihar. The high court had previously upheld the validity of the survey, dismissing a batch of petitions against it.

The first petition, filed by NGO 'Ek Soch Ek Paryas,' will be heard on August 7 before a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti. The second petition has been filed by Akhilesh Kumar, a resident of Nalanda, who argues that the state government's notification for the caste survey goes against the constitutional mandate, according to PTI.

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According to Kumar's plea, the state government's move to conduct a "census" independently infringes on the powers of the Union government, which is exclusively authorized to conduct a census under the Constitution. He claims that the notification issued on June 6, 2022, is unconstitutional and void from the outset.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asserted that the survey is not aimed at conducting a caste census but rather collecting information about people's economic status and caste, with the intention of implementing targeted policies for their welfare.

In its 101-page verdict, the Patna High Court had deemed the state's actions as valid and in accordance with the law, with a legitimate goal of promoting development and justice.

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Following the high court's validation of the survey, the Bihar government swiftly suspended ongoing teacher training programs to mobilize resources for the completion of the exercise. The first phase of the survey, involving around 15,000 officials and enumerators conducting door-to-door visits, concluded on January 21.

The state government has allocated a budget of Rs 500 crore from its contingency fund for the survey, reflecting the significance and scale of the exercise.

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