'Religions Are Pan-India': SC Junks Plea Seeking Minority Benefits for Hindus in Eight States
The court was of the opinion that there have been authoritative judgments in the past that minority is defined as being linguistic minority and not state-wise.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL, which wanted Hindus to receive benefits as ‘minority’ in eight states and Union Territories, based on their population.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde declined to entertain the petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.
The court was of the opinion that there have been authoritative judgments in the past that minority is defined as being linguistic minority and not state-wise. “States were formed around languages. That’s not so with religion. Religions are pan-India. It isn’t decided as per geographical boundaries,” said Justice Bobde as senior lawyer Mohan Parasaran argued for the petition.
According to Parasaran, there were no guidelines to define ‘minority’ in the context of a state-wise population of a community. He pointed out that Hindus were less in numbers in many states but they were not given the benefits that other communities availed in other states.
Attorney General KK Venugopal appeared for the Central government and cited the previous Constitution Bench judgments which talked about linguistic minority. While the law officer did not support the petition, the CJI remained firm that states cannot be taken as units in determining this question.
“Who doesn’t know who is a Hindu or a Muslim or a Parsi? What is the need of guidelines? How can there be guidelines? I don't think we should entertain this," stated Justice Bobde while dismissing the plea.
Earlier, Upadhyay had been asked to approach the National Commission for Minority (NCM) with his request. Upadhyay came back to the court, complaining that the NCM did not decide.
His petition said the term minority needed to be redefined and reconsidered in the context of a population of a community in a state, instead of nationwide population data. The plea said that Hindus, who are a majority community as per national data, are a minority in several north-eastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir.
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