BJP leader moves SC for transfer of petitions on definition of ‘minority’

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Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay has moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer to itself of all petitions pending in various high courts challenging the validity of Section 2© of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

The Supreme Court should hear all cases on the issue to avoid the multiplicity of litigation and conflicting views on the interpretation of Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution that deal with the protection of interests of minorities, and the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, he said.

An authoritative pronouncement on this crucial issue was needed, Upadhyay—who has been filing petitions on this issue before various fora—told The Tribune.

Currently, various high courts, including Delhi, Guwahati, and Meghalaya, were seized of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992.

Section 2(c) simply says, “minority”, for the purposes of this Act, means a community notified as such by the Central Government.

However, the Act doesn’t lay down any guidelines for determination of claim of any religious or linguistic group to be declared as “minority” under the NCM Act and the Centre has identified “minorities” on the national basis and not on the basis of a community’s number in a particular state. It has led to an anomalous situation as in many states a community having a higher population has been declared as “minority”, he said.

Upadhyay said “the minority rights of Hindus are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither the Centre nor respective States have notified them as ‘minority’ under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act. Hence, Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights and protections guaranteed under Articles 29-30.”

Describing the Supreme Court as custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights, Upadhyay urged it to direct the Ministry of Home Affairs to identify and notify religious and linguistic minorities at the state level in the spirit of the Constitution.

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