THE Supreme Court today asked for the views of the Attorney General for India, K K Venugopal on a public interest petition filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking to define ‘minorities’ in accordance with state-wise population data.
A three-judge bench comprising the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose adjourned the matter for four weeks after asking the petitioner to serve a copy of the petition to the Attorney General.
The petition seeks a declaration from the court to hold Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 as manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. The said section reads as follows:
“minority”, for the purposes of this Act, means a community notified as such by the Central Government;
The petition thus seeks to quash the notification issued by the Central government in 1993 by which Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians were notified as minorities.
The plea by Updadhyay further seeks a direction to the Central Government to define the term “Minority” so that only those religious and linguistic groups that are socially, economically and politically non-dominant and numerically inferior may enjoy rights and protections guaranteed under Articles 29-30 of the Constitution of India.
Upadhyay has also sought minority status for Hindus in seven states and one Union Territory (UT) where the community is numerically in a minority according to Census 2011. They are Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Punjab.