Plea to identify Hindus as minorities rejected
Upadhyay’s main contention was that although the expression ‘minority’ has been used in Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, it had not been defined anywhere.Updated: Feb 21, 2020 01:47 IST
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea praying for the court’s directions to identify minorities based on their population at state level.
The petition by advocate and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay stated that the word “minority” should be defined so that only those religious and linguistic groups, which are socially, economically and politically non-dominant and numerically inferior, enjoy the benefits and privileges accorded to minorities by the Constitution.
The Supreme Court allowed the petitioner to withdraw the case and with the liberty to “approach alternative court”.
Upadhyay’s main contention was that although the expression ‘minority’ has been used in Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, it had not been defined anywhere.
Article 29 deals with the protection of interests of minorities and Article 30 empowers minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
Upadhyay stated that although Hindus were in a minority in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshdweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur, they cannot avail of the rights accorded to minorities.
Thus, it was his case that Hindus even in states where they are in minority cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice in the spirit of Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
Muslims, who are in majority in Lakshdweep, Kashmir and Ladakh, are treated as minorities in those places.
Upadhyay, therefore, claimed that minorities should be identified based on their population in the states. He placed reliance on the 2002 SC judgment in TMA Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka. “The legal position stands clarified that the unit for determining status of both linguistic and religious minorities would be ‘State’,” he said in his petition.
He said granting minority status based on religion would lead to various sections clamouring for special protection and privileges which will be a jolt to the country’s secular structure.