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SC refuses to entertain petition seeking minority status for Hindus in 8 states

Anurag Dey | Updated on: 10 November 2017, 19:57 IST
(Arya Sharma/Catch News)

The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a litigation seeking minority status for Hindus in eight states/union territories in the country. It instead directed the petitioner to approach the National Commission for Minorities (NCM).

BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay filed the public interest litigation seeking minority status for Hindus in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab.

The arguments

Citing 2011 Census, the petition claims that Hindus are minority in eight states/union territories - Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%) and Punjab (38.40%).

The petitioner argued that the rights of Hindus in these states are being “siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither Central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a ‘minority’ under Section 2(c) of National Commission for Minority Act”.

“On one hand Hindus are deprived of their rights in these states and people from the nominated minorities community despite being the majority here are entitled to all the rights and perks. This is gross injustice,” said Upadhyay.

The petition sought a court order to the effect of Hindus being accorded status of minorities in the eight states/UT under the National Commission for Minority Act.

An apex court bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, refused to entertain the petition saying the NCM was the competent body to take a decision in this matter.

The petitioner counsel argued that the NCM was concerned with decisions on the national level and did not have powers to look into the affairs of states.

But the bench said it could not pass an order to that effect and directed the petitioner to approach the NCM.

Following the court’s observation, Upadhyay withdrew the petition and will be approaching the Ministry of Minority Affairs with his demand.

The matter

The NCM functions under the National Commission for Minority Act 1992 which extends to whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir. Under the Act, the Centre in in October 1993, notified Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis as ‘minority’ communities. Jains were added to the list in 2014.

The NCM is entrusted with safeguarding and protecting the interests of minorities provided in the Constitution and laws enacted by Parliament and the state legislatures.

Upadhyay in the petition contended that Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under the continuation.

“The Centre offered 20,000 scholarships in technical education for minority students and despite Muslims being the majority in Jammu and Kashmir, they were entitled to them whereas Hindus are not. Muslims form a majority in Lakshadweep and Jammu and Kashmir, there is significant population in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala , Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but they are enjoying ‘minority’ status, and the communities which are real minorities, are not getting their legitimate share," Upadhyay said.

“Similarly in states like Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland Christians are in the majority, while Sikhs are majority in Punjab and there is significant population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana but they are also treated as minority. This injustice can be cured only when Hindus are also notified as minorities in these states,” said Upadhyay, adding that he will be approaching the Ministry and the NCM next week.

First published: 10 November 2017, 19:57 IST
 
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