SC refuses to hear plea for minority status based on state-wise population

A view of the Supreme Court | Photo: PTI

The Supreme Court Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking to define the word 'minority' and laying of guidelines to accord minority status based on state-wise population of a particular community.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat allowed advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay to withdraw the plea with the liberty to approach the appropriate forum for the relief.

During the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Upadhyay, said that the word 'minority' needs to be defined and guidelines need to be laid for their identification at state level in accordance with the apex court verdict of 2002.

The expression 'minority' has been used in Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution but it has nowhere been defined, he said.

As per the Census of 2011, Hindus are actual minority in Laddakh, Mizoram, Lakshdweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur, Singh said.

The bench said if the petitioner has any remedy, then it lies somewhere else not in the apex court.

There are two options, either the court will dismiss the petition or the plea can be withdrawn by the petitioner, it said.

Singh then said that he would like to withdraw the plea but would like to have liberty to move the appropriate forum.

The bench dismissed the plea as withdrawn but gave the petitioner liberty to approach the appropriate forum.

Upadhyay's plea said that as per the Census of 2011, Hindus are merely 1 per cent in Laddakh, 2.75 per cent in Mizoram, 2.77 per cent in Lakshdweep, 4 per cent in Kashmir, 8.74 per cent in Nagaland, 11.52 per cent in Meghalaya, 29 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh, 38.49 per cent in Punjab and 41.29 per cent in Manipur.

"But, their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither Centre nor respective State has notified them as a 'minority' under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission of Minorities Act. Thus, Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under the Articles 30," the plea said.

It said that despite Hindus being in minority in these states, they cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice in spirit of Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

"On the other hand, Muslims are 46 per cent in Laddakh, 95 per cent in Kashmir, 96.58 per cent in Lakshdweep; Christians are 87.16 per cent in Mizoram, 88.10 per cent in Nagaland, 74.59 per cent in Meghalaya; Buddhists are 50 per cent in Laddakh and Sikhs are 57.69 per cent in Punjab. But, they can establish and administer the educational institutions," the plea said.

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