States Can Declare Religious Or Linguistic Communities As Minorities: Centre Tells Supreme Court

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'States Can Declare Religious Or Linguistic Communities As Minorities': Centre Tells Supreme Court

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that certain States, where Hindus or other communities are less in number, can declare them as minorities within their own territories, to enable them to set up and administer their own institutions.

The Central Government informed the Apex Court that any religious or linguistic minorities that considered themselves less in number in a state could declare themselves as a minority. In the affidavit submitted to the Court, the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs said that the state governments can also declare communities as minority groups. The affidavit was filed on a plea by the advocate Ashwini Upadhyay based on the 2011 Census. He had mentioned that Hindus were a minority religion in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Punjab.

States Which Identified Religious And Linguistic Minorities

Moreover, Maharashtra had declared the Jews as a minority community in the state in 2016. Furthermore, Karnataka had also notified Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Lamani, Hindi, Konkani, and Gujrati languages as minority languages. Therefore, Upadhyaya had urged Hindus should be given minority status in all the states as mentioned earlier with the principle laid down by the Apex Court in its 2002 TMA Pai Foundation's ruling, LiveMint reported. The top court had ruled that religious and linguistic minorities have to be identified state-wise for Article 30, which deals with the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.

Minorities Spread All Across The Country

Under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, the Centre had in 1993 notified five communities -- Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians -- as minorities. The Centre said that religious and linguistic minorities are spread all over the country and not related to any single Union Territory or state. Further, the government added, "India is a country with unique characteristics. A religious group in the majority in one state may be in the minority in another state".

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