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Supreme Court to hear PIL on OBC headcount

A separate OBC headcount was required to silence the critics of reservation for OBCs in educational institutions and government jobs on the ground that their exact population is not known.

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Facing a challenge to hold a separate OBC headcount, the government on Monday explained to the Supreme Court (SC) that it was conducting a census based on economic backwardness to plan its social sector obligations.

The government sought three weeks to respond to a plea by Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, a civil society working for the progress of OBCs in Vidarbha, for a direction to the Centre to enumerate the community based on caste. The latest census began on April 1.

The society’s lawyer Shiv Pujan Singh argued that a separate OBC census would ensure better planning for progress of that group.

A separate OBC headcount was also required to silence the critics of reservation for OBCs in educational institutions and government jobs on the ground that their exact population is not known, he said.

Singh said the government used to have a separate headcount of the OBC population till 1931, when it suddenly discontinued the process of caste-based census. He claimed article 340 of the constitution, adopted by the country two decades later, provided for caste-based census.

The government continues the practice of not undertaking an OBC headcount in “utter digress and flagrant violation of articles 15, 14 and 340 and various other provisions of the constitution”, he said.

SC adjourned the hearing for three weeks.

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