Thursday, October 17, 2019
National News
BJP leader’s PIL in SC challenges definition of ‘minority’
Hindus a minority in J&K, Northeast, Punjab, Lakshwadweep, petition argues
New Delhi July10: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the Centre’s 26-year-old notification declaring five communities – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees – as minorities.
The petition, filed by advocate and BJP member Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has sought to declare as unconstitutional Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minority Act, 1992, under which the notification was issued on October 23, 1993.
Upadhyay has sought direction for laying down of guidelines for defining the term ‘minority’, based on state-wise population of a community instead of the national average.
He contended that the notification was violative of fundamental rights to health, education, shelter and livelihood.
It was also against equality, justice and secularism, he argued.
The advocate said he was filing the PIL as he did not receive any response on his representation from the Union Home Ministry, Ministry of Law & Justice, and National Commission for Minorities.
Upadhyay filed a fresh petition as the apex court on his petition on February 11 had asked him to approach the NCM, with the direction that it will decide within three months on his representation.
In his petition, the BJP leader said Hindus, who are a majority community as per national data, are a minority in several north-eastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the Hindu community is deprived of benefits which are available to the minority communities in these states, the plea said, adding that NCM should reconsider the definition of minority in this context.
The plea sought to declare section 2(c) of the NCM Act 1992 “void” and “inoperative” for being “arbitrary”, “unreasonable” and “offending”.
The plea had sought minority status for Hindus in seven states and one Union Territory where the number of the community had fallen, according to the Census 2011.
The petition stated that as per 2011 Census, Hindus are minority in eight states — Lakshadweep (2.5 percent), Mizoram (2.75 percent), Nagaland (8.75 percent), Meghalaya (11.53 percent), J&K (28.44 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (29 percent), Manipur (31.39 percent) and Punjab (38.40 percent).
It stated that Christians are in majority in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland and there is significant population in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal but they are treated as minority.
Likewise, Sikhs are majority in Punjab and there is significant population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana but they are treated as minority, it said.
Muslims are a majority in Lakshadweep (96.20 per cent), J&K (68.30 pc) and there is significant population of the community in Assam (34.20 pc), West Bengal (27.5 pc), Kerala (26.60 pc), Uttar Pradesh (19.30 pc) and Bihar (18 pc) but are enjoying ‘Minority’ status, it said, adding that communities which are real minorities are not getting their legitimate share
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