Sc asks Tushar Mehta to clarify Centre’s stand on “Hindu Minorities.”
On Monday supreme court adjourned the hearing on the issue of granting Minority status to the Hindu’s, Jews and the follower of Baha ‘I faith in states where they are not more in numbers by other communities as solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that, he was not supplied the affidavit filled by the centre on Sunday.
At the beginning of the hearing, solicitor general propounded to the bench of Justice SANJAY KRISHAN KAUL and MM SUNDRESH that he had not seen the affidavit and pleaded for adjournment of the case. The bench was very surprised by noticing that the content of the affidavit has been widely reported in media but not vetted by the law officer. Thereafter, court adjourned the hearing by six weeks and for directions, posted the case to 10th May. The petitioner who filed an application before the court regarding the issue of linguistic Minority, the court allowed to intervene in the case and also said that, it will examine the issue relating to the both religious and linguistic Minority.
The affidavit filed by the centre through the ministry of minority affairs took the stand that states can grant minority status to Hindu’s or any other community if the community is not in a majority within their jurisdictions, to enable them establish and administer educational institution of their own choice.
After the union home ministry took the position that it was for the Minority ministry affairs to decide, but minority ministry affairs adopted the position that it was for the states to determine the issues, the court sought the clarification.
On August 28th, 2020, the apex court had issued notices to the union ministries of home, law and justice and minority welfare on a petition that seeks the declaration of Hindu’s as minorities in nine states to enable them to enjoy the rights conferred by the constitution to them.
The petition filled by the advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay challenging the constitutional validity of the minority commission act 1992 and section 2(f) of the (NCM EI) National commission for minorities educational institution act 2004, for not only giving intemperate power to the centre but also being irrationally, arbitrarily offending Articles 14(Equality), 15(non-discrimination), 21(life and liberty),29 and 30(cultural and educational rights) of the constitution towards the Hindu’s in the states where they are said to be in minority. The petition states that, according to the act which came into force in 2005, arbitrarily empowered the centre to notify 5 communities as minorities at national level. It was submitted by the petitioner that the HINDUS are merely 1% in Ladakh, 2.75% in Mizoram, 4% in Kashmir, 8.74% in Nagaland,11.52% in Meghalaya, 29% in Arunachal Pradesh, 38.49% in Punjab, 41.29% in Manipur. But the centre had not declared them “Minority” and therefore the Hindus are not protected under articles 29,30 of the constitution and cannot establish and administer the educational institutions of their choice. Among the above-mentioned states, the petitioner also stated the followers of Judaism and Bahai faith.
Responding to the PIL filled by the ASHWINI UPADHYAY, the union government stated in an affidavit that, since the subject of identification of minority communities is in the concurrent list of the constitution, Both the centre and the state have provided the power to legislate to confer minority states on certain religious and linguistic communities which are in minority in the country or a particular state.