The Bihar state government on Tuesday resumed the caste-based census survey after the Patna High Court refused to halt the project. Soon after the Nitish Kumar government's big victory in the court, it issued orders and guidelines to all DMs to resume the process on priority basis.
"Regarding the subject mentioned above, all writ petitions filed against the Bihar Caste Based Census, 2022, were dismissed today, 01.08.2023, by the Hon'ble High Court, Patna, during the consolidated case hearing. As per the order of the Hon'ble High Court, Patna, dated 04.05.2023 (letter number-8527) from the General Administration Department, the work has been resumed immediately by withdrawing the order that temporarily suspended the Bihar Caste Based Census, 2022. Please prioritise this action accordingly," a government order by the Under Secretary read.
Big win for Nitish in HC
Today, the Patna High Court upheld the Bihar government's caste-based survey, which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar championed as an initiative to assist the underprivileged. The court dismissed multiple petitions challenging the government's decision to conduct both the caste-based survey and the socio-economic survey in the state.
The first round of the caste survey in Bihar took place from January 7 to 21, while the second round began on April 15 and was initially scheduled to continue until May 15.
On May 4, the Patna High Court had issued a stay order on the caste census. "We are of the considered opinion that the petitioners have made out a prima facie case against the continuation of the process of caste-based survey, as attempted by the State of Bihar. There is also the question raised of data integrity and security, which has to be more elaborately addressed by the state," the HC had said.
The petitions before the high court were filed by a social organization and certain individuals who initially approached the Supreme Court seeking a temporary halt to the survey, which was declined.
Nevertheless, the top court declined to intervene and referred them back to the high court, urging for an expedited hearing of their petition.
Nitish Kumar's pet project
The Bihar cabinet made the decision to conduct a caste census on June 2 of the previous year. Nitish Kumar has consistently stated that the objective of this initiative is to obtain an accurate assessment of the economic condition of all communities, aiming to facilitate developmental work.
"We want to do this so that there's a proper estimate of the financial condition of families from all communities, which will help in deciding what can be done for them, and their localities," the Bihar CM had said.