Linguistic, religious minority status to be decided state-wise: SC | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said it was a settled position that religious and linguistic minority status of a community is to be decided state-wise on the basis of state population and it would be a travesty of justice if, say, Christians who are in a majority in Mizoram and Nagaland are given minority status or Sikhs treated as a minority community in Punjab.
Hearing a PIL seeking directions to declare Hindus as minority community in states where it is outnumbered by other communities, a bench of Justices U U Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia said any such community could be a religious or linguistic minority community. It said Marathi-speaking people would be a minority community outside Maharashtra; Kannada-speaking persons in Maharashtra are a minority.
The petitioner said Hindus are minorities in J&K, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Lakshadweep, Manipur and Punjab but the Centre has so far declared only Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains as minorities in the country.
The Supreme Court said it could not examine the issue of minority status for Hindus in some states “in air” and asked the petitioner to give concrete examples that Hindus were denied benefits of minority status in states where their population is less than those of other communities.
The petitioner referred to some states where the population of Hindus is less than those of other communities and pleaded that they be treated as minority community under Articles 29-30 to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Hindus constitute 1% of the population in Ladakh, 2.8% in Mizoram, 2.8% in Lakshadweep, 4% in Kashmir, 8.7% in Nagaland, 11.5% in Meghalaya, 29% in Arunachal Pradesh, 38.5% in Punjab and 41.3% in Manipur.
At the outset of the hearing, the bench of Justices U U Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia pointed out whether some notification was needed to be issued by the government to give minority tag to a community. The bench also gave the example of DAV running educational institutes across the country but said all its institutions would not get minority tag and it had to be decided state-wise and referred to SC’s verdict in TMA Pai case in 2002.
“A Sikh institution in Punjab getting minority status is a travesty of justice. Christians who are in majority in Nagaland and Mizoram can’t be said to be minority in those states,” the bench observed while emphasising that the exercise for deciding minority status has to be decided state-wise and not nationally. Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the petitioner, sought two weeks’ time to come out with examples where Hindus were denied benefits of minority status.

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