CASTE CENSUS IN TAMIL NADU

Caste census in Tamil nadu

SC sets aside verdict directing caste census:

The Supreme Court has set aside two orders of the Madras High Court, directing the Centre to conduct a caste-based census, holding that it should not have interfered in the domain of policy.

Endorsing the instruction manual provision that referred to public participation in the census as a “true reflection of the national spirit of unity in diversity,” the Supreme Court said the High Court, while passing such a direction, had “tried to inject the concept of social justice” on its own.

In its 23-page judgment on Friday, a Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra noted that the true objective of the Census was building a source of all welfare schemes, and not a “mere information-collection” exercise. The verdict comes on a special leave petition by the Census Commissioner against decisions of the Madras High Court in 2008 and 2010, directing holding of caste-wise census in a time-bound manner.

“The High Court not only travelled beyond the list in the first round of litigation but also had really yielded to some kind of emotional perspective, possibly paving the adventurous path to innovate. It is legally impermissible,” Justice Misra wrote.

The Supreme Court held that the government policy allowed enumeration of members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes but no other castes. In Census 2011, no question on enumeration of other castes had been included.

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