New Delhi, Sep 5: The Supreme Court is slated to hear on Wednesday the clutch of special leave petitions filed against the Patna High Court’s order dismissing pleas challenging the caste-based survey in Bihar.
As per the cause list published on the website of the apex court, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti will continue to hear the matter on September 6. Last week, the Union government withdrew its affidavit which had said that nobody except it is entitled to conduct a census or any exercise akin to a census. The fresh affidavit filed by the Office of the Registrar General in the Union Home Ministry retracted the paragraph saying that "no other body under the Constitution or otherwise (except Centre) is entitled to conduct the exercise of either Census or any action akin to census".In the previous hearing, the Supreme Court had allowed the Union government a period of one week to file its reply after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that he wanted to put the constitutional and legal position on record. The petitioners before the apex court had pleaded that the survey process violated the privacy law and only the Union government had the authority to conduct a census in India, adding that the state government had no authority to decide and notify the conduct of a caste-based survey in Bihar.
The top court had repeatedly refused to pass any interim order staying the survey process or publication of the outcomes of the survey, though it was contended that the matter will become infructuous post publication of the data.
The Nitish Kumar-led state government has said that the caste-based survey in Bihar is complete and will be out in public soon.
Another plea has been moved before the top court challenging the decision of the Bihar government to classify transgender community as 'caste' and not under the category of 'gender' in the state caste survey process.