The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that caste Census of Backward Classes is “administratively difficult and cumbersome” and excluding such data from the purview of Census is a “conscious policy decision.”
The Centre’s stand assumes significance as lately, a 10-party delegation from Bihar, which was led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding caste Census.
In an affidavit filed within the apex court docket, the federal government has mentioned that caste enumeration in Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 was “fraught” with errors and inaccuracies.
The affidavit was filed within the prime court docket in response to a plea by Maharashtra in search of a course to the Centre and different involved authorities to speak in confidence to the state the SECC 2011 uncooked caste information of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) which isn’t made obtainable to them on “repeated demand”.
The affidavit, filed by the secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, mentioned the Centre has already issued a notification in January final 12 months prescribing the collection of data to be collected throughout Census 2021 and it covers many areas together with the data referring to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes however doesn’t confer with some other class of caste.
It mentioned the exclusion of data concerning some other caste from the purview of Census is a “conscious policy decision” taken by the Central authorities.
It mentioned enumeration of OBCs/BCCs (Backward Class of Citizens) has been at all times adjudged to be administratively “extremely complex” and even when Census of castes have been taken within the pre-independence interval, the info suffered in respect of completeness and accuracy.
“The issue has been examined at length in the past at different points of time. Each time, the view has consistently been that the caste Census of Backward Classes is administratively difficult and cumbersome; it has suffered and will suffer both on account of completeness and accuracy of the data, as also evident from the infirmities of the SCEE, 2011 data mentioned hereinabove making it unusable for any official purposes and cannot be mentioned as a source of information for population data in any official document,” the affidavit mentioned.
The authorities mentioned that SECC 2011 survey was not on the ‘OBC survey’ as alleged, however a complete train to enumerate the caste standing of all households within the nation, as per their assertion.
It mentioned socio-economic information of households, together with their “deprivations” have been used to determine the poor households based mostly on the multi-dimensional nature of poverty and used within the implementation of the anti-poverty programmes by the Central Government ministries.
It mentioned, “the caste data has not been disclosed and has been kept with the Office of the Registrar General, India (ORGI) for various reasons, but primarily for the technical flaws that were noticed in the raw caste/tribe SECC data which makes it unusable as explained hereinafter”.
The matter got here up for listening to on Thursday earlier than a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar which posted it for October 26.
In the affidavit, the federal government has mentioned that as far as caste information is anxious, a caste-wise enumeration within the Census has been given up as a matter of coverage from 1951 onwards and thus, the castes apart from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes haven’t been enumerated in any of the Census since 1951 until at the moment.
It mentioned calls for from numerous sections, together with members of Parliament, for enumeration of castes in Census 2011 was acquired in the course of the 12 months 2010 and the matter was mentioned in Lok Sabha and subsequently, the federal government referred it to a Group of Ministers (GoM) chaired by the then Union Finance Minister.
The affidavit mentioned the Union Cabinet in 2011 determined to conduct the SECC 2011 whereby the caste of the family together with social-economic standing on the recognized parameters was directed to be collected.
It mentioned as per the choice of the Cabinet, the info has been shared with the ministry of social justice and empowerment by the ORGI in a tough disk for taking the acceptable choice on its use.
“Pertinently, due to several infirmities found in the aforesaid data as explained hereinafter, it was decided by the Cabinet to constitute an expert committee under the chairmanship of the then Vice-Chairman NITI Aayog Prof Arvind Panagariya,” it mentioned.
It mentioned different members of the committee weren’t named and the panel by no means met.
“As a result, no action has been taken on the data in the past five years,” it mentioned.
The affidavit mentioned as towards greater than 4.28 lakh castes which have been enumerated within the SECC 2011 within the state, the present castes that are printed in Maharashtra in SC, ST, and OBC classes are solely 494.
“For the above referred various reasons either due to the mistakes committed by the enumerators, inherent flaws in the manner of conducting Census and several such other factors, there is no reliable or dependable castes based Census data available which can be the basis of any constitutional or statutory exercise like reservations in admission, promotion or local body elections,” the affidavit mentioned.
The authorities mentioned that the inhabitants Census is just not the “ideal instrument” for the gathering of particulars on castes and the operational difficulties are so many that there’s a grave hazard that the essential integrity of the Census information could also be compromised and the basic inhabitants rely itself might get distorted.PTI