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Bihar's Caste-Based Survey: Patna High Court's



  Aug 18, 2023

Bihar's Caste-Based Survey,Patna High Court Upholds : Constitutional Aspects Explained


Reversal of Ruling: The Patna High Court has overturned its earlier stay on Bihar's caste-based survey, deeming it valid. The survey's purpose is to collect caste-related data for holistic state development.


Privacy Considerations Addressed:

The court applied the Puttaswamy case's triple-requirement test to address privacy concerns. It stressed that fundamental rights can be restricted if it serves the state's legitimate interests and is proportionate and reasonable.
 

Security Measures Recognized:

The court accepted Bihar's assurances on robust security measures, ensuring data protection. The survey's voluntary nature was highlighted, clarifying that collected data aims to identify economic and social aspects for communities' upliftment.
 

Competence of Conducting Survey Scrutinized:

Petitioners argued that only the Union government can conduct a "census" under the Constitution's Seventh Schedule. Additionally, the Concurrent List grants both Union and State governments legislative power over economic and social planning.
 

Socio- Planning in the Seventh Schedule Entry 20:

Entry 20 of the Concurrent List empowers both Union and State governments to legislate on economic and social planning matters. The survey's alignment with economic and social planning goals likely influenced the court's decision.
 

Census in the Union List:

The Union List's Entry 69 grants exclusive census power to the Central government. However, the survey's specific purpose to collect caste-related data for state-level planning distinguishes it from a comprehensive population census, leading to the court's validation.
 

Survey Deemed "Perfectly Valid":

The court affirmed the survey's validity, citing its competent initiation and just aim of providing development with justice. The survey's alignment with compelling public and state interests suggests it doesn't infringe on individual privacy rights.The court's ruling reflects a careful consideration of legal aspects and the survey's intent, highlighting its alignment with state development goals and the legislative framework.


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