Sunday, August 14, 2022

Centre responds to pleaon minority status to Hindus

The Ministry of Minority Affairs on Monday told the Supreme Court that the power to notify minorities is vested with the Union government and any decision in this regard will be taken after discussion with state governments and other stakeholders.
In a fresh affidavit, the Ministry said the Central government has notified six communities as minority communities under section 2C of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
“The question involved in the writ petition has far-reaching ramifications throughout the country and therefore any stand taken without detailed deliberations with the stakeholders may result in an unintended complication for the country,” stated the affidavit filed on a plea of advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. It added, “Though the power is vested with the Central government to notify minorities, the stand to be formulated by the Central government with regard to issues raised in this group of petitions will be finalised after having a wide consultation with the state governments and other stakeholders. This will ensure that the central government is able to place a considered view before this court taking into consideration several sociological, and other aspects obviating any unintended complications in the future concerning such a vital issue.”
The affidavit was filed on a plea seeking directions for framing of guidelines for the identification of minorities at the state level, contending that Hindus are in minority in 10 states. The Ministry of Minority Affairs had in March told the apex court that certain states, where Hindus or other communities are less in number, can declare them a minority community within their own territories, to enable them to set up and administer their own institutions.
Putting the onus on states, the Central government in an affidavit had stated that state governments too have the power to declare communities as a minority. The affidavit filed in the top court by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs had said, “state governments can also declare a religious or linguistic community as a ‘minority community’ within the state”.
The response of the Central government had come on a plea filed in the year 2020 by Upadhyay, that as per the 2011 Census, Hindus were a minority in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Punjab and that they should be given minority status in these states in accordance with the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in its 2002 TMA Pai Foundation ruling.


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