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Maharastra government opposes Union position before Supreme Court that collecting OBC information in 2021 census is difficult

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The state of Maharashtra argued before the Supreme Court of India that an instruction to include the enumeration of socio-economic data relating to rural India’s CBOs in the upcoming 2021 census would not interfere with a political decision.

The submission was made in response to the Centre’s position taken before the Supreme Court that the exclusion of CBOs from the scope of the census is a conscious political decision by the central government and any instruction by a court to include CBOs would be tantamount to interfering with a political decision.

The State of Maharashtra made its submissions by way of a Reply Affidavit filed in response to the Centre’s affidavit in Maharashtra’s motion requesting instructions from the Union of India to disclose the census socio-economic and caste 2011 (SECC-2011), raw data on caste of other arrears. Classes and to collect socio-economic data as it relates to rural India’s citizen caste in its 2020 census.

The State of Maharashtra also informed the Court that by virtue of its judgment dated March 4, 2021, the State issued an ordinance on September 23, 2021 amending the laws on rural local bodies in the State, thereby limiting reserving for citizens of the backward class to 27% of the total seats and ensuring that the total reservation does not exceed 50% of the total seats.

The State argued that the Centre’s comments in its affidavit regarding SECC-2011 are contrary to its comments in the “Twenty-Seventh Report on Government Action on the Recommendations of the Sixteenth Report. of the Standing Committee on Rural Environment Development (16 ‘Lok Sabha) on’ BPL Survey currently Socio Economic & Caste Census (SECC), 2011. “

The State of Maharashtra pointed out that the Union of India in its affidavit to the Supreme Court argued that SECC-2011 was not an “OBC investigation, caste data was not disclosed and technical flaws have been noticed in the raw caste / tribe’s SECC data which renders it unusable. “

However, in the 27th report on the action taken by the Indian government on the recommendations contained in the 16th report of the Lok Sabha Standing Committee on the BPL investigation, the Union of India said that the SECC-2011 had data on the caste and religion of individuals, caste data has been disclosed and that 98.87% of the data is free of errors.

The state therefore argued that the claims made by the Center in the Affidavit of Response are false and only come up after the fact because it does not want to disclose the SECC 2011 raw caste data of the other backward classes to the state.

The state, in its affidavit filed through attorney Rahul Chitnis, also disagreed with the Centre’s submission that a notification for the 2022 census had already been issued in November 2020, it is not not possible to include other questions related to CBOs / BCCs.

The central government issued a notification on January 7, 2020, prescribing a series of information to be collected in the 2021 census and including information relating to listed castes / tribes, but does not refer to any other caste.

According to the state of Maharashtra, even in 2011, the Union Cabinet decided to conduct the SECC 2011, where household caste as well as socio-economic status were to be collected at a late stage.

The Center had also reported that after the field caste enumeration operations, the data had been stored with the Office of the Registrar General of India and shared with the ministries in accordance with the Cabinet decision to make an appropriate decision on its use. However, due to several infirmities found in the data, it was decided by Cabinet to form an expert committee, but the committee never met and no action was taken in the past 5 years. .

In response to the Centre’s comments, the State argued that if the reasoning was accepted, it would never be possible to collect caste details.

The following are the representations made by the Center in its Affidavit in Response:

  • The enumeration of castes in SECC 2011 was full of errors and inaccuracies
  • No reliable or reliable caste census available to serve as a basis for a constitutional exercise
  • The 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC-2011) was not an OBC survey
  • The count of wise castes in the Indian census abandoned as a 1951 policy question
  • SECC 2011 was not the subject of the SC judgment in the case referred by the State
  • Collection of information on the backward class of citizens (BCC) until the 2020 census (21) not feasible

Petition Details:

The advocacy was aimed at asking the Indian Union to disclose the SECC-2011 raw caste data of other backward classes, and in case they were unwilling or able to do the same, allow the state to collect these empirical data concerning CBOs. within the state.

A directive was also requested from the Union of India to collect socio-economic data as it relates to the caste of citizens of rural India in its 2020 census, in order to allow states to calculate the population belonging to castes that are part of the backward class of Citizens (BCC) in the state

The state said the Supreme Court, in its March 4, 2021 ruling in the Vikas Kishanrao Gawali v Maharashtra state case, ordered it to form a dedicated commission to conduct a rigorous and contemporary empirical investigation into nature. and the implications of the delay as local organizations. , for the purpose of providing a reservation to CBOs.

It has been argued that although the state has constituted the Commission, since the central government does not share the CBO census data collected by them during the year 2011-2013, the state has not was able to submit the SECC 2011 raw caste data to the Commission. .

A Chamber headed by Judge AM Khanwilkar will hear the case on December 13, 2021.

Case Title: State of Maharashtra v Indian Union | WP (c) 841/2021

Click here to read / download the order


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