The Nitish government of Bihar has suffered a major setback. Patna High Court has stayed the caste-based survey. The bench headed by Chief Justice V. Chandran of Patna High Court in its interim order stayed the survey. The next hearing in the matter is scheduled on July 3. After July 3, the High Court will again decide whether the state government’s caste-based survey should be carried forward or not. Currently the work of survey has been stopped.
Hearing a bunch of petitions, a division bench of Chief Justice V Chandran and Justice Madhuresh Prasad directed the Bihar government to immediately stop the caste-based survey, and ensure that the data already collected are secured and not shared with anybody till final orders are passed.
The court said, “We are of the considered opinion that the petitioners have made out a prima facie case against the continuation of the process of caste-based survey, as attempted by the State of Bihar. There is also the question raised of data integrity and security which has to be more elaborately addressed by the State.”
Expressing concern, the court noted the government’s intention to share data from the survey with the leaders of different parties in the state assembly. “There definitely arises the larger question of the right to privacy, which the Supreme Court has held to be a facet of right to life,” it said.
The first round of caste survey in Bihar was conducted between January 7 and 21. The second round started on April 15 and was supposed to continue till May 15.