New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the country's census body, the Registrar General of India, to furnish an affidavit declaring that it does not collect data relating to the Other Backward Classes population of the country.
The last caste-based census in the country had taken place in 1931 based on which the V P Singh government had announced 27 percent reservation for OBCs.
Several groups have been demanding caste-based census to press for their demands of proportionate representation in government services.
An RTI applicant had approached the Prime Minister's Office seeking details about the Other Backward Classes population in the country. His application was transferred to the Registrar General of India, which conducts census in the country.
Not getting satisfactory information, the applicant approached the Central Information Commission, the highest appellate body in RTI matters.
The applicant submitted that the information pertaining to the details about the Other Backward Classes population has been denied to him on the grounds that it does not fall under the purview of Office of Registrar General of India.
"The appellant contented that the Registrar General of India conducts decennial survey in which it collects various information including caste of the citizen. Hence, the information sought for should be available with the Registrar General of India," Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava noted.
The RGI told the Commission it collects information only on Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes and not other castes.
The RGI said the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal ministry for all matters related to the Other Backward Classes. The ministry, however, had told the applicant that it relies on the data generated by the RGI.
"The Commission...directs the respondent (RGI) to file an affidavit with the Commission deposing that the Registrar General of India neither collects nor does it hold any information relating to the Other Backward Classes population across the States and Union Territories," Bhargava said.