Hindus a minority in few states? SC grants Centre 3 months for consultation on plea seeking minority status for Hindus in Few States
A petition filed in 2020 stated that Hindus should be give minority status in the states where they are a minority community such as Punjab, J&K, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya etc. Check all list of states where Hindus are a minority community.
The Supreme Court of India has granted the central government three months to discuss on the issue of granting minority status to Hindus in few states where they are outnumbered by other communities.
The apex court bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul expressed its disapproval on the Centre changing its stands on the plea seeking minority status for Hindus in some States.
The SC Bench said that the consultation with the states should have taken place before the affidavit was filed. It added that if centre wants to hold consultation with States with regard to granting minority status to Hindus where they are outnumbered by other communities then it should do so.
What is the issue all about?
The centre had informed the Supreme Court in an affidavit on May 9th that the power to notify minorities is vested with the Union government and any decision in this regard will be taken after discussion with State governments and other stakeholders.
The Union Minority Affairs Ministry said in the affidavit that the Central government has notified six communities as minority communities under section 2C of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
The affidavit also stated that the decision can have far-reaching ramifications throughout the country and therefore any stand taken on it without detailed consultations with all concerned stakeholders may result in an unintended complication for the country.
It added that though the power to notify minorities lies with the Central government, the decision regarding the same will be finalised after having a wide consultation with the state governments and other stakeholders.
The affidavit was filed on a petition that sought directions for framing guidelines for identifying minorities at state level, contesting that Hindus are minorities in 10 Indian States.
Hindus are minorities in which states?
The plea filed in 2020 stated that as per 2011 Census, Hindus should be give minority status in the following states where they are a minority -
Jammu and Kashmir
Know in detail about the Petition
- The plea south minority status for Hindus in these states in accordance with the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in its 2002 TMA Pai Foundation ruling.
- The apex court had said in the TMA Pai case that for the purposes of Article 30 which deals with the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, religious and linguistic minorities have to be considered state-wise.
- The petition sought direction to the Centre to lay down guidelines for the identification of minorities at the state level saying Hindus are minorities in 10 states and are not able to avail the benefits of schemes meant for minorities.
- The petition also challenged the validity of Section 2(f) of the National Commission for Minority Education Institution Act 2004 for being arbitrary, irrational and giving unchecked power to the Centre.
Centre dismisses plea
The Centre had said in its affidavit that "the reliefs sought by the petitioner are not in larger public or national interest" adding that India is a country with very unique characteristics and a religious group that is in majority in one state may be in minority in another state.
The Centre had notified five communities -Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians -as minorities under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
The central government had in March 2022 told the Supreme Court that state governments too have the power to declare communities as minorities. It had stated then that certain states, where Hindus or other communities are less in number, can declare them a minority community within their own territories, to enable them to set up and administer their own institutions.
The centre had added that states can also declare a religious or linguistic group as a minority group within its territory like Maharashtra did for Jews in 2016. Karnataka had also notified Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Urdu, Telugu, Tulu, Hindi, Konkani, Gujrati and Lamani as minority languages with its territory.
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