New Delhi: A PIL challenging 26-years old notification declaring five communities Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis as’ minorities’ has been challenged in Supreme Court stating the existing system is ‘illegal’ and is violating the fundamental rights of majority ‘Hindu’ community depriving them of various benefits enjoyed by the minority communities across the nation.
The PIL was filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, TNIE reports.
The Apex court on Friday has sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in dealing with the plea which seeks communities should be declared based on the state-wise population instead of national data.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose took note of the submissions made by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and asked lawyer Upadhayay to serve copy of the petition to the office of the attorney general and listed the case for hearing after four weeks.
Mr Upadhyay sought to declare as unconstitutional section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minority (NCM) Act, 1992, under which the notification was issued on October 23, 1993 and also sought direction guidelines to define the term ‘minority’ based on state-wise population of a community.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi contended he filed the PIL on the issue as he did not receive any response on his representation from the Home Ministry, the Ministry of Law and Justice and the National Commission for Minorities.
Mr Upadhyay filed the fresh petition as the apex court on his petition on February 11 had asked him to approach the NCM, with the direction that it will decide within three months his representation which sought to lay down of guidelines for defining the term ‘minority’ based on state-wise population of a community instead of the national average.
The BJP leader in his petition said Hindus who are defined as a majority community as per national data, are a minority in seven states and in Jammu and Kashmir and the community is deprived of benefits enjoyed by the minority communities in these states and that the NCM should reconsider defining minority in this context.
The petition also said the definition of “minority” as per Article 29-30 is being misused for political benefits.
Hindu community is minority in eight states as per 2011 Census while Christians are majority in few of these states with a significant presence of population in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal yet treated as a minority.
Similarly, Sikhs are a majority in Punjab and have a significant population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana but are treated as a minority.
Likewise Muslims are a majority in Lakshadweep (96.20 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (68.30 per cent) and there is a significant population of the community in Assam (34.20 pc), West Bengal (27.5 pc), Kerala (26.60 pc), Uttar Pradesh (19.30 pc) and Bihar (18 pc) yet they are enjoying the minority status.