In Setback For Nitish Kumar, High Court Intervention Stalls Bihar Government's Caste Census

Swarajya Staff

May 04, 2023, 04:41 PM | Updated 04:41 PM IST

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar facing a dark future (Getty Images)
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar facing a dark future (Getty Images)

The Bihar government's ongoing caste-based survey was put on hold by the Patna High Court on Thursday (4 May).

The survey carries 28 questions, including on caste, gender, religion, education, and finances.

Despite rejection from the Centre, all parties in Bihar back the survey.

Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said in reponse to the ruling: "The caste-based census is for the welfare of the people as we want to eradicate poverty. One thing is clear, it is bound to happen."

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar earlier in the day responded to the criticism against his government's caste census by some quarters.

In doing so, he addressed concerns about a petition before the Patna High Court which objected to the headcount of castes in the state.

"I cannot understand why people have a problem with the survey. The last time a headcount was done was way back in 1931...," said the Janata Dal (United) leader.

Kumar said he had ordered the caste survey in the state with the agreement of all political groups.

"Resolutions in favour of the caste census were passed twice, unanimously, in both Houses of the state legislature. Representatives of all parties had joined me in making a formal request to the prime minister," he said.

"After they (the Centre) declined, we decided to undertake an exercise limited to the state. That decision, too, was taken at a meeting where representatives of all the nine political parties, which have members in the legislature, were present," said Kumar.

According to him, the exercise would be "beneficial to all" and that barring a few exceptions, "all people in the state were in favour."

A social group and some individuals, who were earlier denied interim relief following their plea for a stay on the survey, approached the Supreme Court and petitioned on this matter.

The apex court sent the case back to the High Court, declining to intervene and ordering a speedy resolution.

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