NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has fixed April 16 for final disposal of a matter related to the Bihar caste survey census case.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said the court would take up the petitions challenging validity of the Nitish Kumar government's decision on April 16.
In October, 2023, the Supreme Court had declined to restrain the Bihar government from going ahead with the results of the caste survey or act on it. The court had said there can't be a status quo order for now as restraining the state government from taking a policy decision would be wrong.
In a judgement, the Patna High Court had on August 2, 2023 upheld the Bihar government's decision to undertake the caste-based survey.
On January 2, 2024, the Supreme Court had said that it is concerned about the breakdown of data in the Bihar caste survey not being made available to the public, which leads to a lot of problems.
"If somebody is willing to challenge a particular inference being drawn then he should be able to have that data,” the bench had said.
NGO 'Ek Soch Ek Prayas' and others sought a status quo and a direction to the state government restraining it from acting on the data. They said that the state's decision to collect caste details was contrary to the Supreme Court's judgement in the K S Puttaswamy, which recognised the right to privacy as a fundamental right.
The Patna High Court had on August 1 approved the Bihar government's decision of June 6, 2022 to conduct a caste census in the state. The HC had said the exercise was perfectly valid, and (is) initiated with due competence, with the legitimate aim of providing ‘development with justice’; as proclaimed in the address to both Houses.
On October 2, 2023, the Bihar government went on to publish the data on caste census.
On October 6, 2023, the Supreme Court had declined to order status quo on the Bihar government's decision to collect and publish caste census data, saying normally all policies depend on the numbers only.