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SC rejects minority status to Hindus

NEW DELHI: In a major relief to minority-dominated states, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea seeking grant of minority status to “majority” Hindus in eight states, including Meghalaya.
A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the National Commission for Minorities would decide on the matter and had asked the petitioner to approach them. The PIL filed was seeking minority status to Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Lakshwadeep, Nagaland and Mizoram.
The plea, filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, claimed that Hindus were minority in the eight states but their minority rights were being siphoned off “illegally and arbitrarily” to the majority population.
“This is happening because neither the central nor the state governments have notified them as a ‘minority’ under the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992,” the PIL said.
Citing the 2011 census, the petition said Hindus were minority in Lakshadweep (2.5 per cent), Mizoram (2.75 per cent), Nagaland (8.75 per cent), Meghalaya (11.53 per cent), J&K (28.44 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (29 per cent), Manipur (31.39 per cent) and Punjab (38.40 per cent). Failure to identify and recognise them as minority leads to unreasonable disbursement of minority benefits to majority, the plea said.
It also poses a challenge to a central government notification of October 23, 1993, under which five communities, namely Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis, were notified as minorities. Such a notification is not only “arbitrary, irrational but also invalid and ultra vires the Constitution of India and its basic structure” and must be quashed, the petition argued.
Incidentally, the Supreme Court had rejected the PIL by Kumar, who is also a BJP leader in Delhi, which sought a court direction to the Centre to make study of Hindi compulsory for all students of Classes I-VIII telling him to approach the government directly as “his party was in power”.
“Why have you come to court with this demand? You say you are a BJP man,” the apex court had asked.

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