Demand from Supreme Court, Minorities should be announced at district level, court denies

- Posted by One India, last updated on


oi-Jyoti Bhaskar


Updated: Monday, August 8, 2022, 20:21 [IST]

New Delhi, August 08 : India‘s biggest court- Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a petition seeking Declare Minorities At District Level. The Supreme Court, in oral remarks, said that it cannot entertain appeals for identification of religious and linguistic minorities at the district level, as opposed to precedents that hold that such identification should be made at the state level.

supreme court

Demand to direct the central government

A division bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ravindra Bhat made the above observation on the writ petition of Devkin Thakur in the Supreme Court. The petitioner challenged a 1993 notification of the Central Government. The notification declared Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains as minorities at the national level. The petitioner asked a bench of Justices Lalit and Bhat to be directed to identify the minorities at the district level.

The demand has already been rejected

Let us tell you that the Supreme Court in its historic decision had considered that minorities should be identified at the state level. Legal experts also know this Supreme Court case titled TMA Pai & Ors vs State of Karnataka. The apex court bench, in the In Re Kerala Education Bill of 1958, had also rejected the argument that minorities should be identified at the block level or district level.

Minority benefits to Hindus!

According to the report of legal matters website Live Law, a bench of Justice Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat in the Supreme Court said, in the last hearing, senior advocate Arvind Datar was asked to present such concrete examples, which would prove that in such states Where Hindus are less in number or are a minority, they are being denied the benefits of minority status. Datar appeared for the petitioner. When the court refused to hear the petition, Datar was not present. In his absence, the counsel representing the petitioner sought listing of the matter along with another similar petition. The second petition is being heard by a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

NCM Act also challenged

Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who filed the second petition in the Supreme Court on the issue related to minorities, said that Hindus are a minority in some states. He has filed the petition challenging the provisions of the National Commission for Minorities Act (NCM) 1992 and the National Minorities Educational Institutions Act 2004. Minority status has also been sought for Hindus in some States/Union Territories. Justice UU Lalit told Upadhyay, “In principle you are right, but if the Supreme Court has said it should be state wise, why should we interfere?”

Referring to the 30 year old TMA Pai Judgment

On this, Upadhyay referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in the TMA Pai case. To this, the bench said that minorities cannot be identified on a general basis. “You want to make a case where there is no case at all,” the court said. The bench said, in Kerala, it was argued that the identification of minorities should be done at the block level or at the district level. The court denied this and clarified that the minority should be identified state-wise. The judgments of Kerala and St. Xavier have also been reiterated in the TMA Pai case verdict.

It is not the job of the court to declare minority

Justice Ravindra Bhat said, when you are talking about minorities, a minority is a pan-India minority, for example, you have Parsis, Konkani speaking people. There are people who are a minority in a small space, so how can you declare? The court clarified that it is not the job of the court to declare the minority.

no religious figures

The bench asked the counsel to give concrete examples of cases in states where Hindus are a minority and are denied the protection of Article 30. Justice Lalit said, “You are generally saying that Hindus should be declared a minority, we cannot just declare.” Justice Bhat said, it cannot be declared even because we do not have state-specific and every religion-specific data.

hearing in september

Justice Lalit asked the petitioner, “We will list it along with the second case. This was agreed by the petitioner’s counsel Upadhyay. A bench of Justices Lalit and Justice Bhat said in the order, the issues involved in the present case are Civil Writ Petition No. 2020 List with 836. The matter to be listed in the first week of September.

11 judge bench order

After the order, Justice Bhat said, “You cannot claim prayer, it is contrary to law. You are saying that minority should be declared at the district level. We cannot consider it. This is TMA pie case.” against the 11-judge Bench.

Hindu Population Data in Supreme Court

In the last hearing also, the Supreme Court had said that Hindus are being denied minority status in some states, show clear and concrete evidence to the court in this regard. Devkin Thakur’s petition also challenges the constitutional validity of Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Under this section, the central government gets the power to notify minorities. Petitioner Thakur has presented the figures of less number of Hindus in some states and regions, 1% in Ladakh, 2.75% in Mizoram, 2.77% in Lakshadweep, 4% in Kashmir, 8.74% in Nagaland, 11.52% in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh 29% in Punjab, 38.49 percent in Punjab, 41.29 percent in Manipur, but the Center has not declared them a ‘minority’. On the other hand, the Center has declared Muslims as a minority, which are 96.58% in Lakshadweep, 95% in Kashmir, 46% in Ladakh. Similarly, the Center has declared Christians as a minority. There are 88.10 per cent Christians in Nagaland, 87.16 per cent in Mizoram and 74.59 per cent in Meghalaya.

Does the central government have the right to arbitrarily?

Referring to Article 30 of the Constitution, the petitioner Thakur argued that he can establish and run educational institutions of his choice. The petitioner argues that Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 gives “unbridled power to the Center” to notify minorities. This is clearly arbitrary, irrational and contrary to Articles 14, 15, 21, 29, 30 of the Constitution. Further, the petitioner also asked the Supreme Court to direct the Central Government to define the word ‘minority’ and lay down ‘guidelines for identification of minorities at the district level’.

Rights to the states, later the central government overturned

In response to Ashwini Upadhyay’s petition, the Central Government, in an affidavit filed on March 28, had said that in states where Hindus are a minority, the concerned state government can notify them as minorities under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution. However, later, the Center changed its stand. In the fresh reply/affidavit by withdrawing the first affidavit, the central government said that it has the power to notify minorities, but in this regard “extensive consultation with state governments and other stakeholders” to avoid “unforeseen complications in future”. Only then can a decision be taken.

Supreme Court disappointed with the response of the Central Government

On May 10, the Supreme Court had also expressed disappointment over the different stand of the central government in the matter of minorities. The court had said that due consideration should be given before finalizing the affidavit. The court had also asked the Center to file a report on the consultation process with the state governments within three months in this regard.

Also read: We are not enemies, we are only rivals, so we should not let others down: Venkaiah Naidu

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