Can give migrated minority status to Hindus: Delhi govt

By, New Delhi
Jan 13, 2023 07:13 AM IST

The stand of the Delhi government was disclosed as part of an affidavit submitted by the Union government in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Hindus who migrated to the national capital from other regions may be accorded “migrated minority” status if they were a religious minority in their state of origin, the Delhi government has suggested as part of an ongoing case in the Supreme Court on granting minority status to Hindus in certain circumstances.

The Supreme Court will take up the case on Friday. (ANI)
The Supreme Court will take up the case on Friday. (ANI)

The stand of the Delhi government was disclosed as part of an affidavit submitted by the Union government in the Supreme Court on Thursday. Of the 24 states and Union territories (UTs), Delhi was the only government that explicitly backed granting minority status to Hindus in any form at the state or UT level.

Some other states -- including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, West Bengal and Uttarakhand -- favoured identification of a “minority community” at the state level but didn’t name any particular faith or group in particular. In all these states, except Punjab, Hindus are the religious majority community at the state level. In Punjab, Sikhs comprise the majority.

“The followers of Hinduism are not the ‘religious minority’ in the NCT of Delhi but the central government may declare the ‘migrated minority status to the followers of Hinduism who are the religious minority in their origin state (i.e. Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh etc) and residing in Delhi after migration from their home state,” stated the Delhi government’s response to the Centre, dated December 30.

The affidavit came as part of a case on whether minority status can be bestowed on Hindus when their numbers are less than those from other communities. Most states conveyed their satisfaction with the existing regime where six minority faiths are identified and notified at the national level. HT has seen the affidavit.

The AAP government advocated for granting minority status to followers of Judaism and Baha’i Faith.

The states and UTs submitted their comments to the Centre, which told the Supreme Court that it can convey the final stand on the issue of granting minority status to Hindus where they are numerically less that other communities only after its consultation with states, UTs and other stakeholders is complete.

The Centre was asked by a bench led by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in January 2022 to take a categorical stand on the issue after a public interest litigation by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay challenged the validity of Section 2(f) of the National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions (NCMEI) Act on the ground that it gives unbridled powers to the Centre to restrict minority benefits to the notified six religious communities — Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains. Upadhyay also requested the court to lay down guidelines on identification of minorities

In March 2022, the Centre took an initial stand that both the Union and state governments have the power to accord minority status to a community. But in May, it walked back this position and sought time to carry out a “wide consultation” with states and other stakeholders.

The Centre’s status report, submitted in the court on Thursday, said that while comments were received from concerned ministries, 24 states and six UTs, inputs from six states and UTs were yet to come in.

The top court will take up the case on Friday.

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