Thursday, December 19, 2019

British Court Says Sikh Challenge To Census Proposal Is Premature

In Gill, R (on the application of) v UK Statistics Authority, (EWHC, Dec. 12, 2019), a High Court judge in England dismissed as premature a challenge to a proposal by the UK Statistics Authority not to include a Sikh ethnic group tick box response in the 2021 census. Under the proposal there would be a specific "Sikh" response under "Religion", but those wishing to list themselves as Sikh under ethnicity would need to check the "Other, specify" box. The court agreed with the government's claim, which the court described as follows:
[T]his claim is a pre-emptive challenge to the exercise of the Queen's powers ... before the Minister has made a final decision on the form of the census questionnaire, or laid the draft delegated legislation before Parliament, and before Parliament and the Queen in Council have had an opportunity to consider it. The Defendant submits that the claim is premature, and in breach of Parliamentary privilege, as a declaration in the terms sought would not respect the separation of powers between the legislature and the judiciary.
Law & Religion UK has more on the decision.