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SC sets aside orders to amend census form

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the orders of Peshawar and Sindh High Courts in which the census commissioner to amend Form II and add Sikh, Kalasha and other religions.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took up the government’s three petitions for hearing in which the orders of high courts were challenged. Additional Attorney General Waqar Rana told the bench that the first phase of census in 63 districts, including the provincial capitals, had already been completed and the second phase had started on April 15. He added that the census forms could not be amended at this stage.

He said that the enumerators were not trained nor given codes to gather information regarding these religions. As the forms were machine readable, new information could not be added as it required codes, he pleaded. He also submitted that an addition of any codes on the forms would undermine the whole process and compromise the authenticity of the data collected.

The officer added that historically these religions were not included in the column but at the same time, in order to ensure the constitutional rights of these minorities, steps would be taken in collaboration with NADRA to add information regarding persons belonging to these religions. Accepting the plea, the court disposed of the petitions.

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