The Supreme Court is slated to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking the quashing of a June 2022 Bihar government notification that had called for a caste census in the State. .Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha agreed to hear the plea on January 20 after the matter was mentioned before them on Tuesday.The petition, drawn by advocate Barun Kumar Sinha and filed through advocate Abhishek, has challenged the State's notification in this regard as being 'against the basic structure of the Constitution'..The petitioner, one Akhilesh Kumar, submitted that the government's action is illegal, arbitrary, irrational, unconstitutional and without any basis in law. Further, it was contended that the State could not have gone ahead with such a move in the absence of a legislation or a Constitutional provision enabling the same.." ... it is evident from Section 3 of the Census Act, 1948 that it is the Central Government which is empowered to take census in the whole or any part of the territory of India. The State Governments are not empowered under the Census Act, 1948 to take Census in a State ... [on] a perusal of scheme of Census Act, 1948, it is clear that caste census is not contemplated in the act," the petition stated..Pertinently, the plea argued that since the Representation of People Act prohibits election to Parliament or State Assemblies on the basis of religion or caste, legislators of political parties are 'prohibited from raising caste-based issues'.." ... political parties whether in government or out of government are under legal obligation to refrain from indulging in caste politics. Admittedly the impugned Notification is the outcome of the decision of the meeting of the political parties who have members in legislative assembly and therefore, they are not expected to divide the society on caste lines which is against National integration," the petitioner submitted. .The plea stated that the government is under a Constitutional obligation to eradicate caste conflicts. Moreover, there is no provision in the Constitution regarding caste configurations, the petitioner pointed out."In a state which is governed by rule of law, executive orders must get basis and genesis from law. The impugned Notification for caste census in the State of Bihar lacks statutory flavour and constitutional sanction," the petition stated..A caste census needs Central legislation and States cannot go about the same on their own, the plea argued.Terming the decision of the Bihar government in the matter as illegal, the petitioner has submitted further that the notification under challenge is violative of the right to equality before the law, as it, "accords differential treatment without intelligible differentia."