8.2 C
New York
Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Plea in SC seeks district-wise identification of minorities – Mrit News

- Advertisement -


Majority religious communities such as Hindus are socially, economically, politically non-dominant and numerically inferior in several States, it says

Majority religious communities such as Hindus are socially, economically, politically non-dominant and numerically inferior in several States, it says

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to identify minority communities district-wise, saying the recognition of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis nationally by the Centre as ‘minorities’ ignore the fact that ‘majority’ religious communities such as Hindus are actually “socially, economically, politically non-dominant and numerically inferior” in several States.

The writ petition challenged Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act 1992, which, according to it, gives “unbridled power” to the Centre to notify minorities in defiance of the Supreme Court’s 11-judge Bench judgment in the T.M.A Pai case that linguistic and religious minorities should be identified at the State level and not the national level.

“Followers of Judaism, Bahaism and Hinduism, who are the real minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice because of non-identification of ‘minority’ at State level, thus jeopardising their basic rights guaranteed under Article 29-30. Their right under Articles 29-30 is being siphoned off illegally to the majority community in the State because Centre has not notified them ‘minority’ under NCM Act,” the petition filed by Mathura resident Devkinandan Thakur, represented by advocate Ashutosh Dubey, argued.

The petition sought a direction to the Centre “to define ‘minority’ and lay down ‘guidelines for identification of minorities at district level’ in order to protect their cultural and educational rights under Articles 29 and 30”. The petition also asked the court to declare as unconstitutional a government notification of October 1993 which “arbitrarily” granted Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis minority status “without defining ‘minority’ and framing guidelines for identification at State level”.

In 2014, Jains were added in the list as the sixth minority community, though the Supreme Court had “very categorically refused to grant minority status to Jains”.

“It is pertinent to state that after the judgment in T.M.A Pai case, the legal position is very clear that the unit for determining status of linguistic and religious minorities would be the state,” the petition said.

It said Muslims were in majority in Lakshadweep (96.58%) and Kashmir (96%). There was a significant population in Ladhakh (44%), Assam (34.20%), Bengal (27.5%), Kerala (26.60%), UP (19.30%) & Bihar (18%). They can establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

Christians were a majority in Nagaland (88.10%), Mizoram (87.16%) and Meghalaya (74.59%). There was a significant population in Arunachal, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Likewise, Sikhs were a majority in Punjab and there was a large population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana. Similarly, Buddhists were a majority in Ladakh.

“Hindus are merely 1% in Ladakh, 2.75% in Mizoram, 2.77% in Lakshadweep, 4% in Kashmir, 8.74% in Nagaland, 11.52% in Meghalaya, 29% in Arunachal Pradesh, 38.49% in Punjab, 41.29% in Manipur, but the Centre has not declared them as ‘minority’,” the petition contended.

U-turn by Centre

In a separate case filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay for State-wise declaration of minorities, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Centre for first claiming that both it and the States have concurrent power to grant ‘minority’ status only to later file a second affidavit claiming that the Centre alone was vested with the power to notify a minority community.

On May 10, a Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul, referring to the two affidavits, addressed the Centre with “first you say Parliament and State legislatures have concurrent powers, then you back out and say only Centre has the power”. The Bench, however, had agreed to give the Centre three months to hold “consultations” on the issue with stakeholders. It had directed the Centre to file a status report and posted the case on August 30.


- Advertisement -

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

0FansLike
3,510FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe
- Advertisement -

Latest Articles