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Posted at: Feb 12, 2019, 7:01 AM; last updated: Feb 12, 2019, 11:31 AM (IST)

SC: Decide on ‘minority’ definition

NCM chairperson says final decision to be taken by the govt only
SC: Decide on ‘minority’ definition
The Supreme Court asked the NCM to take a decision on defining ‘minority’.

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to take a decision in three months on a representation seeking guidelines for defining ‘minority’ — a term which has not been defined either under the Constitution or any other law.

The direction came from a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on a petition filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who was earlier asked to approach the NCM. He moved court again as the NCM did not take a decision.

Now the top court has asked him to re-file his representation before the NCM, which has to take a decision on it in three months from today.

NCM chairperson Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi told The Tribune, “A committee was set up to examine the issue and the decision would be communicated. But the final decision would be taken by the government only.”

Upadhyay pointed out that the term has not been defined under the NCM Act, 1992, and the Centre’s notification declaring five communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists — as minorities was not based on proper criteria. He has demanded that the term ‘minority’ needed to be properly defined and reconsidered in the context of population of a religious community in a state, instead of nationwide demographic strength.

The plea sought to emphasise that Hindus, who are a majority community as per national census figures, are a minority in several north-eastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite being in minority in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Lakshdweep, Hindus were deprived of benefits available to minority communities in these states, he submitted.

The SC had on November 10, 2017, declined to entertain a plea filed by Upadhyay seeking minority status for Hindus in seven states and one Union Territory and asked him to approach the National Commission for Minorities.

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