In the case of Youth for Equality and Ors. vs The State of Bihar, The Youth for Equality had appealed to the state of Bihar regarding a census that had been conducted there. Caste census phase one started in January. The second stage of arguments is currently taking place, specifically regarding the Supreme Court’s instructions to consider and decide the interim application for a stay that was submitted in the case.
Submission from both Parties
The petitioners stated that while the Central Government has the right to conduct a census, the State cannot conduct a caste census under the cover of a survey. Furthermore, they emphasised that there was no explicitly stated purpose for conducting such a survey. No one is required to disclose their personal information; however, the petitioners emphasised that under the rules, information must be obtained from the eldest family member or, depending on caste status, from relatives or neighbours, which undermines the claim of voluntary disclosure. Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in KS Puttaswamy v. Union of India pointed out that privacy being an inextricable facet of Article 21 there cannot be any compulsory extraction of the personal details from citizens.
The defendant claims that the State has contended that the petitioners are wayfarers who did not object to the exercise when it began and that the notification for the exercise was issued on June 6, 2022. He argued that the petitioners’ delay in submitting their writ petition showed a deliberate, poorly-intentioned attempt to obstruct a legitimate exercise started by the State.
A bench of Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Madhuresh Prasad The State government has been ordered by the court to stop conducting caste-based surveys right away and to make sure that any data that has already been obtained is secure and kept confidential until the writ petition’s final decisions are made. The Union Parliament, which also passed the Census Act of 1948, has sole authority to carry out the caste-based survey, which the court concluded is a census disguised as a survey. The Court stated that the family head, not the specific individual, would be asked for information regarding every family member’s caste and income. The Court claims that this works against the accuracy and integrity of the provided data. The activity, according to the Court, was not intended to identify backwardness but rather the caste status of the people of the State of Bihar. This, it claimed, was clear from the guidelines’ demand that the caste of a person is ascertained from the head of the family, a relative, or a neighbour.
Due to concerns regarding data privacy and the State’s jurisdiction, the Court determined that the petitioners had established a prima facie case. Therefore, it instructed the State government to stop the survey right away and make sure that the information already gathered is secured and not shared with anyone until the writ petition, which will be heard again on July 3, 2023, is resolved.