SC Junks HC Order on Caste-Based Census

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  • The Supreme Court on Friday rescued the Centre from the prospect of carrying out a caste-based census :an exercise that could have led to a controversial reworking of quotas for other  backward classes.
  • The Madras high court had two years ago in a service matter ordered a fresh caste-based census, more than 80 years after it was last conducted in 1931.
  • Given the potential for social strife in a castebased census, the Centre had rushed to the SC challenging the HC order. 
  • A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, R F Nariman and U U Lalit upheld its contention and said the central census notification mandated collection of information only relating to SCs and STs and not other castes.
  • Appearing for the Centre, senior advocate R S Suri had argued that policy stipulates for carrying out the census which includes SC and ST, but not other castes.
  •  He had said other HCs had dismissed similar petitions and that even the SC had declined to interfere in census modalities. 
  • Justice Misra, writing the judgment for the bench, said:In such a situation, it is extremely difficult to visualize that the high court, without having a `lis' (subject matter) before it, could even have thought of issuing a command to the census department to take all such measures towards conducting caste-wise census in the country so that social justice in its true sense could be achieved.
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