Only central government has jurisdiction for caste census: submission of affidavit to Supreme Court

The Union government told the Supreme Court that only the Centre has the power to conduct a census or any census equivalent to a census.

The Center has given this response regarding petitions filed challenging the caste-based survey in Bihar. In its affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the Centre said that neither the body under the Constitution nor any other body is competent to conduct census or any act similar to census.

An affidavit has been submitted to the Supreme Court on Monday that according to the Census Act, 1948, only the central government has the authority to carry out any other census process of this type, including caste census. Under Section 3 of the Census Act, 1948, the Act empowered only the Central Government to conduct a caste census.

Further in the affidavit, the central government mentioned that the Centre is committed to take all appropriate measures for the upliftment of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

The Bihar High Court recently upheld the Bihar government’s decision to conduct a caste census. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who submitted an affidavit on behalf of the Central Government during the hearing of the petitions challenging this, said that the Census is a legislative process under the Census Act, 1948. He said that this act gives only the central government the power to conduct the census.

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