London, November 7
The high court in London has dismissed a challenge brought by a British Sikh group against the UK Cabinet Office for its failure to incorporate a separate Sikh ethnicity tick box in the next census in 2021.
Justice Akhlaq Choudhury handed down his judgment on Friday to conclude that the census, as currently designed, will not prevent people from identifying as ethnically as Sikh as a write-in option. “In coming to that view, I do not underestimate the importance to the Claimant of having a specific Sikh tick box under the ethnic group question.
However, the census, as currently designed, will not prevent any respondent who wishes to do so from identifying as ethnically Sikh. The write-in option, with the auto-fill function in the online version, will enable the respondent to do so,” the ruling notes.
“It cannot be right that any challenge to executive decision-making should require the decision maker to cease ongoing work, particularly in respect of a project of the scale of a national census,” it reads.
Sikh Federation UK, represented by the law firm Leigh Day at the Royal Courts of Justice, had earlier claimed that it would be “unlawful” for the Cabinet Office to lay before Parliament a Census Order based on the proposals set out by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) in its December 2018 White Paper, which had rejected the need for a separate tick box. “Such matters are not for the court to determine,” the judge said.— PTI
Not needed: Court
Sikh Federation UK wanted incorporation of a separate Sikh ethnicity tick box in the 2021 census, but London high court observed the currently designed process wouldn’t prevent people from identifying their ethnicity.