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Identification of minorities at state level: GHC asks Govt. to reply in 4 weeks

Gauhati High Court

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 29: The Gauhati High Court has issued notice to the Home, Law & Minority Affair Ministry in a plea seeking identification of minorities at the state level.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Justice Koteshwar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury issued notice returnable in 4 weeks while hearing a plea seeking minority status to Hindus and other indigenous religions of Nagaland and Mizoram on state wise basis in terms of the NCM Act 1992.
The plea filed by Advocate H Talukdar has challenged the validity of Government notification of October 23, 1993 issued under Section 2 of NCM Act, 1992 for being discriminatory, arbitrary and violative of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution.
According to the plea, no scheme prepared for the minority can become a success if the minority is not assessed state wise in terms of population of every state, as held by the Supreme Court in TMA Pai judgment. If this is not done, actual people belonging to minority who are being governed unit wise will be deprived of the benefits of minority schemes. In this case, in states like Mizoram and Nagaland the benefits of minority schemes will be enjoyed in continuity by Christian majority forever and actual minority such as Hindus and other indigenous religions of States will remain unprotected and gradually become extinct.
Appearing for petitioner Pankaj Deka through Video Conferencing from Delhi, Supreme Court Lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay argued that TMA Pai Judgment is law of the land, which very categorically clarifies that Linguistic & Religious Minorities shall be identified at State level but Centre has not taken appropriate steps in spirit of the 2002 Judgment even after 18 years. Therefore, protection guaranteed under Article 30 is being siphoned off to the majority community of the Nagaland and Meghalaya. Upadhyay said that the 1993 Notification on Minority Community is manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable and brazenly offends Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution therefore Court should stay the Notification immediately.
The plea has prayed for directions to authorities to define ‘minority ‘ and frame guidelines for their identification at State level in spirit of Article 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution. The plea has sought declaration that Hindus and other indigenous religions of Nagaland and Mizoram are minority on state-wise basis in terms of the NCM Act 1992.
The Court will hear the matter next on November 16.
(Courtesy: ILNS)