Reality Check India

Future of social justice and equality in India

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 12, 2009

The PMK wanted  to include caste based data in the 2011 census.  So they filed a PIL in the Supreme Court.

Why the need for census ?

Some say that the need for such data is blindingly obvious. The ultimate staging unit for both social justice and compromised equality before law is caste.

The court today refused to entertain the case.

“How can we give a direction to the government to conduct a caste-based census? It is a policy decision. If it was not done for last more than 70 years, there must be some reason behind it. Why should it be done now? Some fear that there could be a social problem,” the CJI said.

Source : TOI


Goes on to suggest a course of action,

This did not click with the Bench, which said: “The elections are round the corner. You wait for two months and there will be a new government. May be you will also be part of it. And then you can represent the government to change the policy on census.”

Source : TOI

In other words, the court appears to want little  to do with the number one constitutional issue in front of this country. The issue of data (evidence) based social justice. 


Dont expect the legal blogs to throw light on this subject. Lawyers actually make a good living out of this mess. Mr TTK warned during the constituent assembly debates that this policy will become a lawyers paradise.  Here we are now.

In the comments section, please do not criticise the judges. We have some laws in this country that are strictly enforced.

9 Responses

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  1. Barbarindian said, on April 12, 2009 at 7:00 am

    There is a constitutional basis for asking for caste census on the the ground that collecting data selectively for certain groups is discriminatory.

    There is always a gray zone, we just happen to have most of our constitution in the gray zone. The reluctance of the judges is more to do with the aggressive stand the UPA Government took about wealth declaration of judges etc. They know this is a high stakes area, they can’t win. All it takes is another amendment. So why bother putting up a fight?

  2. rc said, on April 12, 2009 at 7:14 am

    >>caste census on the the ground that collecting data selectively for certain groups is discriminatory.

    The census would have to cover all castes including those not seeking/eligible for benefits. A census just for castes currently in the OBC list would be discriminatory.

  3. Barbarindian said, on April 12, 2009 at 8:23 am

    True, but the same goes for selective data collection for minority religions and SC/ST castes. Just repeating what the article said:

    “They are collecting full data about SCs, STs, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Christians. It was the lack of empirical data on the population of OBCs that had forced the apex court to stay for more than a year the policy to provide 27% reservation to OBCs in educational institutions,” he said.

    This seems to be a valid ground for discriminatory treatment. It looks like there is a decent case for legal action from two fronts:
    a) a front comprising of SC/STs, religious minorities on privacy grounds
    b) a front comprising of non-social justice people who can claim that since OBC is not supposed to be purely caste driven, caste being just one of the factors, the poor among the non-social justice people are being left out.

    The judge was right when he pointed out that the elections are just around the corner. It is also a responsibility of the apex court to make sure such game changing things are not allowed which can disrupt the political equation. PMK should have filed this long ago.

    The reason PMK is filing this now is clear, with slightly changed scenario in TN, they believe they stand to gain if a caste census within OBC groups is conducted. It could be just a ploy for a better hand for post-poll alliance.

  4. Barbarindian said, on April 12, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Off topic: A rare praise for The White Tiger:

    Wonder why this book wasn’t received well in the intellectual circle, given that the message was along the social justice lines? Was it because of the Great Socialist?

  5. rc said, on April 12, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I realize the horses have long bolted, yet…

    When we say the benefits without data, we generally mean disaggregated data. This means counting of castes and using that data along with a measure of their ability to utilize benefits. This data must be used for gating their entry into the benefit lists.

    Almost all the current political messiahs will vanish while still retaining the quota system of social justice.

    The PMK of course wants the OBCs as a group to be counted without disaggregation. This is of course meaningless since in India caste is the ‘ultimate staging unit’ and the OBC List is just an artificial grouping.

  6. Barbarindian said, on April 12, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for the clarification, didn’t realize they were not seeking disaggregated data, merely a head count of all those who are OBCs. That would be totally silly.

    I am willing to bet at least one of two things will happen if UPA comes back to power (very high probability):
    1. Private sector hard quotas for OBCs
    2. Another amendment to remove the 50% ceiling.

  7. Anon said, on April 12, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    The same supreme court wanted caste based data to give OBC reservation

    Now by denying this caste based census the brahmin judges are doing their best to deny OBC Quota

  8. Barbarindian said, on April 12, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Well, the CJI is Dalit and he was on the bench that delivered the verdict.

    You call that “denying?” I could do with some pizza and beer denial right now.

  9. shadows said, on April 13, 2009 at 7:28 am

    >>> In the comments section, please do not criticise the judges. We have some laws in this country that are strictly enforced.

    The best part of your post!! 🙂

    Think about it…. Reflects what we are as a nation.

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