PIL in SC challenges National Commission for Minorities Act

New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has moved the Supreme Court challenging the validity of Section 2 (C) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992 terming it ‘arbitrary’ and ‘contrary’ to the Constitution.

Petitioner Devkinandan Thakur Ji, filed through Advocate Ashutosh Dubey, also sought directions from the Centre to define ‘minority’ and lay down a guidelines for identification of minorities at district level in order to ensure that only those religious and linguistic groups, which are socially economically politically non-dominant and numerically very inferior, get the benefits and protections guaranteed under Articles 29-30.

“Hindus are merely 1 per cent in Ladakh, 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 the Central government has not declared them ‘minority’ under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act and Section 2 (f) of the NCMEI Act, thus Hindus are not protected under Articles 29-30 and cannot establish-administer educational institution of their choice,” the PIL contended.

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It further stated that the Act using unbridled power under S. 2(c), the Centre arbitrarily notified five communities –Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsi– as minority at national level.

Cause of action continues till date because followers of Judaism, Bahaism and Hinduism, who are real minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshdweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice because of non-identification of ‘minority’ at state level, thus jeopardising their basic rights guaranteed under Article 29-30, the PIL claimed.

Their right under Articles 29-30 is being siphoned off illegally to the majority community in the state because the Centre has not notified them as ‘minority’ under NCM Act.

Followers of Judaism, Bahaism and Hinduism are being deprived of their basic rights to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

“On the other hand, Muslims are in majority in Lakshdweep (96.58 per cent) and Kashmir (96 per cent) and there is significant population in Ladhakh (44 per cent), Assam (34.20 per cent), Bengal (27.5 per cent), Kerala (26.60 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (19.30 per cent) and Bihar (18 per cent); can establish & administer educational institutions of their choice. Christians are a majority in Nagaland (88.10 per cent), Mizoram (87.16 per cent) and Meghalaya (74.59 per cent), and there is significant population in Arunachal, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, can also establish and administer,” it read.

Likewise, Sikhs are a majority in Punjab and there is large population in Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana, but they can establish and administer.

Similarly, Buddists are majority in Ladakh but they can establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, the PIL added.

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