Apex court dismisses plea for caste-based censusApril 9th, 2009 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a plea that sought direction to the government to undertake a caste-based census in 2011.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam dismissed the plea saying it would lead to sectarian strife.
The lawsuit, filed by Tamil Nadu-based party PMK, sought detailed enumeration of various castes and communities. The PMK argued that caste-wise break-up is necessary for implementing various developmental and welfare programmes.
The PMK said various commissions, right from the first, the National Commission, appointed in 1953 to other Backward Classes commissions appointed later, have been stressing the need for caste-based census.
“India is not only a union of states but also a confluence of various castes, tribes and communities,” said the petition, adding that even the constitution recognises various castes and communities and that’s why it recognises and allows for various caste- and community-specific laws, rituals and traditions.
The petition argued that India had been conducting such census even in historic times as evident by the fact that Kautilya’s treatise, Arthashastra of 260-232 BC, refers to the importance and practice of conducting caste-based census.
The petitioner said Abdul Fazal, a minister in the cabinet of the Akbar the Great, referred to caste-based census in 16th and 17th centuries and such census was conducted even during the British rule, but not after Independence.
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