NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine whether a community could be declared as a religious or linguistic minority on the basis of its population in a state to allow it to run institutions of its choice.
A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul sought response from the Centre on a PIL filed by BJP functionary Ashwini Upadhyay challenging the validity of Section 2(f) of National Commission for Minority Education Institution Act for giving power to the Centre to declare a community as minority for the purpose.
The Supreme Court had earlier in February refused to entertain his similar plea to define the word “minority” and laying of guidelines to accord minority status based on state-wise population of a particular community. The court had asked him to approach appropriate forum for relief.
In his new petition, Upadhyay has challenged the validity of Section 2(f) of the Act pertaining to setting up and managing minority institutions.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that Hindus are in minority in 10 states while Muslim and Christians, which have been declared minority community, are in majority in many states.
“Followers of Judaism, Bahaism & Hinduism are being deprived of their basic rights to establish & administer educational institutions of their choice. On the other hand, Muslims are in majority in Lakshdweep (96.58%) & Kashmir (96%). Christians are majority in Nagaland (88.10%), Mizoram (87.16%) and Meghalaya (74.59%),” the petition said.
“Hindus are merely 1% in Laddakh, 2.75% in Mizoram, 2.77% in Lakshdweep, 4% in Kashmir, 8.74% in Nagaland, 11.52% in Meghalaya, 29% in Arunachal Pradesh, 38.49% in Punjab, 41.29% in Manipur but the Centre has not declared them minority. Thus Hindus are not protected under Articles 29-30 and cannot establish & administer educational institution of their choice,” it said.