The Supreme Court on Thursday (18 May) refused to lift the stay imposed by Patna High Court on the caste survey initiated by the Bihar government.
A Bench of Justices A S Oka and Rajesh Bindal agreed to list the case on 14 July if the hearing before the High Court does not commence on 3 July.
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appearing for the Bihar government submitted that resources had already been mobilised for the survey and the High Court should not to have stayed it.
He submitted the process is essential to procure "quantifiable data" for effective formulation of State policies, reports Livelaw.
Justice Oka said the court will have to see whether what is being done is indeed a Census in the name of a survey.
Justice Bindal added that many of the documents show it is indeed a Census, reports Indian Express.
The Patna HC had on 4 May put the the survey on hold, stating that it infringed on Parliament's rights.
The HC suggested that the exercise was essentially “a Census”, and raised questions regarding privacy and data security.
Appearing for Bihar government, Shyam Divan told the apex court that the High Court is in error and that only ten more days were required to completed the survey.
The bench, however, pointed out that the High Court had gone into those aspects.
"The (High) Court has gone into it and said stop for now...High Court had flagged data privacy issues," the top court remarked, reports Bar and Bench.
The first round of caste surveys in Bihar was conducted between 7 and 21 January.
The second round commenced on 15 April and was supposed to continue till 15 May.
During the first phase of the caste survey, the counting of houses and people was done, and the ongoing second phase enumerated the caste, gender and religion of the people.
The exercise will cost the state exchequer Rs 500 crore.
The ongoing survey in Bihar lists 28 questions, including caste, gender, religion, educational and financial status.
A big votary of caste survey, CM Nitish Kumar has claimed that it is being done to ascertain the socio-economic status of people so that the government could work further on policies and programmes.
While the Union government had turned down the demand for a caste survey, the exercise in Bihar has the support of all the parties in Bihar.
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