Minority Question : Siphoning off Legitimate Share
Supreme Court urged to declare Hindus as minority in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur & Punjab, where their legal share is being siphoned off by ‘majority’
The Supreme Court of India might have refused the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking repeal of 1993 Notification on minority community or declare the Hindus as ‘minority’ in the states where they don’t form majority, the issue of siphoning off the legitigate share of Hindus by so-called minorities has drawn the attention of everyone. The Court asked the petitioner to approach the National Commission for Minorities in this regard on November 10. The PIL had stated that the minority rights are being drawn off “illegally and arbitrarily” to the majority population as neither the Centre nor the state has notified Hindus as a ‘minority’ under the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992.
As per Section 2(c) of the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992, ‘minority’ means a community notified as such by the Central Government. In exercise of powers conferred by Section 2(c) of the Act, the Central Government through a notification dated October 23, 1993 notified five communities—Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis—as ‘minority’ community. Jain’s were also added into the list in 2014, but not the Hindus, who are also minority in
As a legal crusader advocate Shri Ashwani Upadhyaya is behind the PILs on a number of issues including Uniform Civil Code, debarring persons from contesting elections against whom charges have been framed in serious offences, appointment of Lokayukta, deporting all illegal migrants including Bangladeshis and Rohingyas, etc. Now he has filed a PIL in Supreme Court seeking minority status to Hindus in eight states where they are in minority. Organiser Sr Correspondent Pramod Kumar spoke to him to know the facts in this PIL. Excerpts:
According to 2011 Census, Hindus are monitory in Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%) and Punjab (38.40%). Their ‘minority’ rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the ‘majority’ population because neither Central nor the State Governments have notified them as a ‘minority’ under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act. They are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under Articles 25 to 30. Hence, the 1993 notification on Minority Community is not only arbitrary and irrational but also invalid.
It needs no elaboration that the Muslims are majority in Lakshadweep (96.20%) and J&K (68.30%) and there is significant population in Assam (34.20%), West Bengal (27.5%), Kerala (26.60%), Uttar Pradesh (19.30%) and Bihar (18%). However, they are enjoying the ‘minority’ status, and the communities which are real minorities, are not getting their legitimate share because of non-identification and non-notification of minorities at the State level, thereby jeopardising their basic rights guaranteed under Part-III of the Constitution. Similarly, the Christians are majority in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland and there is significant population in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, but they are treated as minority. Likewise, Sikhs are majority in Punjab and their population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana is significant, but they are also treated as minority.
The Central Government offered 20,000 scholarships for technical education to the minority students. In J&K, Muslims are 68.30% and Government allotted 717 out of 753 scholarships to Muslim students, but none to the Hindu students citing the 1993 Minority Notification, which declares Muslims as minority. Similarly, ‘Prime Minister’s 15 Points Programme’ meant for religious and linguistic
minorities is not being appropriately used, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, J&K, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Hindus’ legitimate share is being siphoned off arbitrarily to unqualified sections of the population, because of non-identification and non-notification of minorities at State level. Although, it is duty of the Government to identify and notify religious and linguistic minorities at the State level so as to safeguard the rights of minorities guaranteed under Articles 25-30.
“Denial of minority rights to real minorities and arbitrary and unreasonable disbursement of minority benefits to majority, infringes upon Fundamental Right to prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth [Article 15(1)]; impairs the right to equality of opportunity in matters related to public employment [Article 16(1)]; and freedom of conscience and right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion [Article 25(1)]. It also erodes the obligation of the State ‘to endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities’. Therefore, the Court should declare the above stated notification invalid and ultra-virus the Constitution,” the PIL said.
The PIL has raised a very pertinent question as to why legitimate share of the Hindus should be allowed to be siphoned off. The issue needs a decision at national level.