Legal Aspect of Caste Census

It is a well-known fact that caste plays a prominent role in India. However, it appears there is no authentic data on caste-wise population after independence. Caste-wise population differs from report to report. Even the policy makers are in dilemma about the authentic data of caste-wise population and they are still dependent on and refer the caste-based census of 1931 for administrative purposes.

However the ratio of population is a relevant consideration in fixing the quantum of reservation, budget allocating and framing of policies for the emancipation of weak, particularly, Backward Communities (SC, ST& OBC). In this regard it is indisputable that the population of OBCs exceeds 27 per cent and SCs and STs constitute more than 22 ½ per cent. However confining 27 per cent reservation to OBCs, and 22 ½ per cent to SCs and STs is meaning less, deceive and conspiracy to keeping them away from the benefits. It is, therefore necessary that, the quantum of reservation must be fixed on par with the ratio of population. The ceiling of not more than 50 per cent fixed in the case of Inder Sawhney vs UOI popularly known as Mandal Commission case ( 1992 Supp. (3) SCC 217) is to be reconsidered for revision  in the prevalence of socio-economic conditions of the country. Why should the more than 75 per cent of population to be confined to the benefits of 50 per cent only and why the meager sections comprising less than 25 per cent to enjoy the 50 per cent of benefits. Where is the genuine logic and rationality?

No nation can remain strong if the vast majority of its people live in dead ignorance and poverty. The under-privileged, backward classes must be the receiver of all the benefits that this nation affords for its countrymen.  Merely, inscribing high ideals and objectives in a country’s constitution is no guarantee that socio-economic objectives would be automatically attained. It is up to the legal profession, more than any other section of society to respond the pace of socio-economic change. It is for them to become social engineers and build a new desirable social structure out of the shambles left behind by an iniquitous system. To start with this we need caste census so that the judiciary / legal fraternity, bureaucracy, policy makers can properly scrutinize, frame polices, and judge issues before them.

Courts are regarded as temples of justice. In a country where the bulk of the population lives below poverty line, justice must not only be cheap and free but satisfy people’s expectations. However it is a fact that our courts are just functioning for law sake and not for justice. Rulings given without taking account of a little man and his village life are unrealistic and meaningless. Judgments given by the Indian judiciary on various cases and occasions are confusing and creating ambiguity.  The rulings and finding of the judiciary and their conservativeness in many judgments has hampered the majority of the weak and helpless. The dilemma and confusion arising out of the judicial rulings is in fact harm to the nation, particularly SC/ST/OBC.

The justice to small man shall mean nothing less and nothing else than assurance of a fair and equitable share in the developmental gains of the national resources of the country. The delivery of justice is, therefore expected in the form of economic rights, removing social disabilities and restoring dignity of personal life. Therefore it is the duty of the courts to strengthen the ideals of the Constitution instead of invalidating welfare legislations, and measures made by the legislature and executives in lieu of welfare ideals. The judiciary must respect and recognize the cry of the majority instead of remaining static. It must also care for the socio-economic philosophy of the nation as incorporated in the Constitution and the judges, from top to bottom, must develop a new sympathy with socio-economic welfare measures and orient themselves on the fundamentals of justice to poor and must remember that to wipe every tear from every eye, and to remove the widespread feeling among organized and unorganized sections of Indian mass that ‘only wealth will buy justice’, we need caste census so that poverty is completely alleviated.

Article by

Dr. D. V. Rao & Dr. P. Lakshmi

New Delhi

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2 Responses to Legal Aspect of Caste Census

  1. Prof .Sachin on January, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Above article is a good soure/diet for sc/st/obc peoples who are hunger from past 5700 years . i would like to mention here that be continous be realistic and be confident thats why we can achieve what we had desighed for present and next generations

  2. SHANKER KUMAR on March, 2011 at 12:10 pm


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