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Census Act 1948 Census Act 1948

Bronze medal Reporter Adv. Lakshmi Posted 11 Jul 2019
Census Act 1948

Short title and extent:-

(1) This Act may be called the Census Act, 1948.

{Subs., ibid., for the former sub-section.}

[(2) It extends to the whole of India {Subs. by Act 51 of 1950, s.2, for "except the States of Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Mysore and Travancore-Cochin ".} [except the State of Jammu and Kashmir].]

{Ins., ibid., s.3.The original s.2 was the A.O.1950.

Rule of construction respecting enactments not extending to part B States:-

Any reference to the Indian Penal Code or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, shall, in relation to a Part B State, be construed as a r reference to the corresponding enactment in force in that State.]

.Central Government to take census:-

The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare its intention of taking a census in the whole or any part of the territories to which this Act extends, whenever it may consider it necessary or desirable so to do, and thereupon the census shall be taken.

          Appointment of ceases staff:-

(1) The Central Government may appoint a Census Commissioner to supervise the taking of the census throughout the area in which the census is intended to be taken, and Superintendents of Census Operations to supervise the taking of the census within the several States.

(2) The State Government may appoint persons as census-officers to take, or aid in, or supervise the taking of, the census within any specified local area and such persons, when so appointed, shall be bound to serve accordingly.

(3) A declaration in writing, signed by any authority authorized by the State Government in this behalf that any person has been duly appointed a census-officer for any local area shall be conclusive proof of such appointment.

(4) The State Government may delegate to such authority as it thinks fit the power of appointing census-officers conferred by subsection (2).

Status of census authorities as public servants:-

The Census Commissioner, all Superintendents of Census Operations and all census-officers shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code.

Discharge of duties of census officers in certain cases:-

(1) Where the District Magistrate, or such authority as the State Government may appoint in this behalf, by a written order so directs-

(a) every officer in command of any body of men belonging to the naval, military or air forces, or of any vessel of war, of India,

(b) every person (except a pilot or harbormaster) having charge or control of a vessel,

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(c) every person in charge of a lunatic asylum, hospital, workhouse, prison, reformatory or lock-up or of any public, charitable, religious or educational institution.

(d) every keeper, secretary or manager of any sarai, hotel, boarding-house, lodging-house, emigration depot or club,

(e) every manager or officer of a railway or any commercial or industrial establishment, and

(f) every occupant of immovable property wherein at the time of the taking of the census persons are living, shall perform such of the duties of a census-officer in relation to the persons who at the time of the taking of the census are under his command or charge, or are inmates of his house, or are present on or in such immovable property or are employed under him as may be specified in the order.

(2) All the provisions of this Act relating to census-officers shall apply, so far as may be, to all persons while performing such duties under this section, and any person refusing or neglecting to perform any duty which under this section he is directed to perform shall be deemed to have committed an offence under section 187 of the Indian Penal Code.

Powers call upon certain persons to assistance:-

The District Magistrate, or such authority as the State Government may appoint in this behalf for any local area, may, by written order which shall have effect throughout the extent of his district or of such local area, as the case may be, call upon-

(a) all owners and occupiers of land, tenure-holders, and farmers and assignees of land revenue, or their agents,

(b) all members of the district, municipal, panchayat and other local authorities and officers and servants of such authorities, and

(c) all officers and members of staff of any factory, firm or establishment, to give such assistance as shall be specified in the order towards the taking of a census of the persons who are, at the time of the taking of the census, on the lands of such owners, occupiers, tenure-holders, farmers and assignees, or in the premises of factories, firms and other establishments, or within the areas for which such local authorities are established, as the case may be, and the persons to whom an order under this section is directed shall be bound to obey it and shall, while acting in pursuance of such order, be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code.

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Asking of questions and obligation to answer:-

(1) A census-officer may ask all such questions of all persons within the limits of the local area for which he is appointed as, by instructions issued in this behalf by the State Government and of published in the Official Gazette, he may be directed to ask.

(2) Every person of whom any question is asked under subsection (1) shall be legally bound to answer such question to the best of his knowledge or belief:

Provided that no person shall be bound to state the name of any female member of his household,and no woman shall be bound to state the name of her husband or deceased husband or of any other person whose name she is forbidden by custom to mention

Occupier to permit access and affixing of numbers:-

Every person occupying any house, enclosure, vessel or other place shall allow census-officers such access thereto as they may require for the purposes of the census and as, having regard to the of customs of the country, may be reasonable, and shall allow them to paint on, or affix to, the place such letters, marks or numbers as may be necessary for the purposes of the census.


(1) (a) Any census-officer or any person lawfully required to give assistance towards the taking of a census who refuses or neglects to use reasonable diligence in performing any duty imposed upon him or in obeying any order issued to him in accordance with this Act or any rule made thereunder, or any person who hinders or obstructs another person in performing any such duty or in obeying any such order, or

(b) any census-officer who intentionally puts any offensive or improper question or knowingly makes any false return or, without the previous sanction of the Central Government or the State Government, discloses any information which he has received by means of, or for the purposes of, a census return, or

(c) any sorter, compiler or other member of the census staff who removes, secretes, damages or destroys any census document or deals with any census document in a manner likely to falsify or impair the tabulations of census results, or

(d) any person who intentionally gives a false answer to, or refuses to answer to the best of his knowledge or belief, any question asked of him by a census-officer which he is legally bound by section 8 to answer, or lawyers in India.

(e) any person occupying any house, enclosure, vessel or other place who refuses to allow a census-officer such reasonable access thereto as he is required by section 9 to allow, or

(f) any person who removes, obliterates, alters, or damages any letters, marks or numbers which have been painted or affixed for the purposes of the census, or

(g) any person who, having been required under section 10 to fill up a schedule, knowingly and without sufficient cause fails to comply with the provisions of that section, or makes any false return thereunder, or

(h) any person who trespasses into a census office, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees and in case of a conviction under part (b) or (c) shall also be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months.

(2) Whoever abets any offence under sub-section (1) shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.

Sanction required for prosecutions:-

No prosecution under this Act shall be instituted except with the previous sanction of the State Government or of an authority authorized in this behalf by the State Government.


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