SC grants the Center last opportunity to file a response on the PIL for the identification of minorities at state level

The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Center the “last chance” to file its response on a PIL requesting guidance for developing guidelines identifying minorities at the state level, as Hindus are in the minority in 10 states and are unable to benefit from the benefits of minority programs.

Lead lawyer CS Vaidyanathan, representing the petitioner, requested the transfer to the Supreme Court of the petitions on a similar issue which are pending in various high courts. The Supreme Court also cleared the plea to transfer cases from several higher jurisdictions to it against the Center’s notification to declare five communities – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis – as minorities and marked the case with the main petition.

Lawyer for petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay requested a fixed hearing date, but the highest court released the case after seven weeks. “Look at the environment. Let it stabilize. Next week we will only take urgent business. We don’t know how things are going to go in the next two or three weeks. Let things stabilize,” he said. declared the bench.

Upadhyay, in his plea, also challenged the validity of Section 2 (f) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act 2004 for conferring unlimited power on the Center and for being patently arbitrary, irrational and offensive. The plea, filed through attorney Ashwani Kumar Dubey, said the denial of benefits to “real” minorities and the arbitrary and unreasonable disbursements under programs aimed at them by the absolute majority violate the fundamental right under the Constitution.

“Lead and declare that the followers of Judaism, Bahaism and Hinduism, who are minorities in Laddakh, Mizoram, Lakshdweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur, can establish and administer the establishments of teaching of their choice in the spirit of the TMA Pai Ruling, ”the plea said.

The Supreme Court in the TMA Pai Foundation case ruled that the state was well within its rights to introduce a regulatory regime in the national interest to provide minority educational institutions with qualified teachers so that they can ‘they achieve excellence in education. Citing article 30 of the constitution, the plea stated that minorities, whether based on religion or language, have the right to establish and operate educational institutions of their choice.

“The rational basis for declaring certain religions as a minority by the central government because they have less population in states is violated when the advantages of minority regimes are acquired by religious minorities in states where they are in the majority and religious communities which are in fact minorities are not given equal status, ”the plea said.

The petition stated that the denial of the rights of minorities to real religious and linguistic minorities is a violation of the rights of minorities enshrined in Articles 14 (equality before the law) and 21 (no one may be deprived of their life or personal freedom. , except in accordance with the procedure established by law) of the Constitution.

With entries from PTI.