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J-K govt vs Centre in Supreme Court over setting up of state minority commission

Attorney general (AG) KK Venugopal informed a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the state had disowned its assurance given at a meeting to frame the law for constituting the commission.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2018 23:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jammu and Kashmir,Central government,Supreme Court
The meeting in which J&K participated was held by a Centre-appointed committee headed by the secretary of the minority affairs ministry.(PTI File Photo)

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government were at odds before the Supreme Court on Friday over the setting up of the state minority commission.

Attorney general (AG) KK Venugopal informed a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the state had disowned its assurance given at a meeting to frame the law for constituting the commission. “The minutes show they gave an assurance and now they disown it. So, let the court decide it on merit,” the AG said.

Objecting to Venugopal’s submission, J&K government counsel advocate Shoeb Alam submitted that the state never “disowned”, but reiterated its stand taken before the Supreme Court that it will bring a law “as and when necessary”.

“Some parts of the meeting attributed to us are not true,” said Alam, on whose request the bench adjourned the matter for four weeks.

The meeting in which J&K participated was held by a Centre-appointed committee headed by the secretary of the minority affairs ministry. The committee was set up in March last year to examine issues related to minorities in J&K after a PIL was filed before the top court, seeking to declare Hindus a minority community in the state. According to petitioner Ankur Sharma, Hindus should derive benefits under schemes meant for minorities.

In its written response, the state has not acknowledged Hindus as a “minority” because the central list of minorities does not include the community.

The state government told the top court that the benefits of central schemes would only be extended to “meritorious” and “needy” members of communities that are notified by the Centre, suggesting that Hindus would not be eligible.

The J&K affidavit referred to a central government notification of 1993 that lists Muslims as a minority.

The other minority groups, as per the document, are Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians. In 2014, the Jain community was added to this list.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 23:02 IST