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SC issues notice to the Union of India on PIL seeking enumeration of OBCs in 2021 census

SC issues notice to the Union of India on PIL seeking enumeration of OBCs in 2021 census

What is the decision of the Supreme Court of India?

• On 15th October 2020, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde of the Supreme Court issued a notice to Union of India in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking for inclusion of the enumeration of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the country in the Census to be conducted in 2021.

• The apex court asked the Centre and the National Commission for Backward Classes to respond to the petition in four weeks’ time.

Why was the PIL filed?

• The plea has been filed by Advocate-on-RecordAakriti Jain and drawn by Advocate Sonia Saini.

• The petitioner submits that with regard to the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report, it has been observed that there is a "major limitation on data about the social economic and educational profile of our population in general and about Other Backward Class in particular. The last caste-based census in India was done in 1931".

• The Ministry of Home Affairs has earlier decided to release the data on OBCs but later did not proceed with it.

• The PIL has been filed before the court to direct the authorities to enumeratethe OBCs in the Census conducted every 10 years.

Why is this petition important?

• The petition is important as the enumeration of social and financial status of OBCs in the Census is essential for the implementation of reservation in letter and spirit as envisioned by the Constitution of India.

• The British conducted the Census from its starting in 1872 and included the OBCs in the list till the year 1931. Since then, there has been no census enlisting the exact number of OBCs. This is a serious miscarriage of social justice and denial of the constitutional mandate of Articles 15(4), 16(14), 243D and 243T of the Constitution.


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