Supreme Court : Minority status to be decided state-wise

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Aug 8 : The Supreme Court on Monday reiterated that religious and linguistic minority status has to be decided state-wise and made it clear that it is the law of the land since 1957.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice U U Lalit and also comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat was hearing a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking to declare Hindu as minority in states where they are outnumbered by other communities.

The petition challenged a 1993 notification declaring Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsi and Jains as minorities at the national level.

The Supreme Court on Monday listed for hearing for first week of September a petition filed by Devkinandan Thakur seeking identification of minorities at the district level instead of at the national level.

The Bench told the petitioner: “Theoretically, you may be right. Hindus may be in a minority in many states.”

The court has many a times said that minorities are to be identified at the state level. It will have to be done on a case-to-case basis.

“You give us examples of Hindus being in minority,” the Bench said. The counsel appearing for the petitioner told the Court that similar matters were pending before the Bench of Justice Sanjay Kaul.

The Bench observed that the prayer for identification of minorities at the district level is against the judgment of an 11-judge Bench of the Court and is not maintainable.

The petition also challenges provisions of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act.

The petition sought direction to the Respondents, including the Union of India, to define ‘minority’ and lay down guidelines for identification of minorities at the district level.


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