Supreme Court junks plea which sought guidelines to define minority in terms of state population
Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that Hindus were a minority in eight states, but added that the Centre was not supporting the petition.Updated: Dec 17, 2019 12:23 IST
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking that minority communities be defined on the basis of state-wise population data instead of national data. The petition was mentioned before the bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde.
“Religion must be viewed pan-India... religion does not recognise political borders. Muslims follow Hindu law... in places like Lakshadweep,” the CJI said.
Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that Hindus were a minority in eight states, but added that the Centre was not supporting the petition.
BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay had approached the court seeking to file the PIL which challenged the validity of the Centre’s 26-year-old notification declaring five communities - Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis - as minorities.
The petitioner wanted the court to declare as unconstitutional section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minority (NCM) Act, 1992, under which the notification was issued on October 23, 1993.
Upadhyay sought direction for laying down guidelines to define the term ‘minority’, based on the state-wise population of a community instead of the national average.
He contended in the plea that the notification was violative of fundamental rights to health, education, shelter and livelihood.
In his petition, the BJP leader has 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 has said, adding that NCM should reconsider the definition of the minority in this context.
According to the Census 2011, mentioned by the petitioner in his plea, Hindus are minority in eight states - Lakshadweep (2.5 per cent), Mizoram (2.75 per cent), Nagaland (8.75 per cent), Meghalaya (11.53 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (28.44 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (29 per cent), Manipur (31.39 per cent) and Punjab (38.40 per cent).