"Centre has no power to redetermine 'Minority' status": Kerala High Court dismisses plea seeking re-determination of minority status of Muslims & Christians in State

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“There is no power vested with the Central Government to redetermine the minority status. The Central Government is given power only to refer any matter to the National Commission for Minorities,” the Kerala High Court held on Thursday while dismissing a plea that argued that the minority status of the Muslim and Christian communities in the State of Kerala is needed to be redetermined.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly rejected the petitioner's plea stating that it is the jurisdiction of the National Commission for Minority to evaluate the progress of the development of minorities and the Central and State Governments can only forward recommendation relating to minorities in the Country.

Addressing the main argument relied upon by the petitioner for his plea that the term 'minority' is not defined under the Indian Constitution and therefore, the Muslim as well as the Christian communities are not entitled to enjoy any constitutional status in the guise of the minority communities, the court held,

Merely because the term 'minority' is not defined under the Constitution of India, that would not take away the fundamental rights and guarantees conferred on the minorities under the Constitution of India and the laws which are fundamental in the governance of the nation.”

Dismissing the petition in sans of merit, the Bench stated,

“Merely because in the definition or interpretation clause of the Constitution the term 'minority' is not included and defined, that will not, in any way, create a fetter to the duties and obligations of the Government of India to protect the interests of the minorities guaranteed under the Constitution of India.”

Matter In Brief

Earlier this month, an organisation named ‘Citizen's Association For Democracy , Equality, Tranquility And Secularism’ (Cadets) filed a petition before the Kerala High Court. The organisation claiming that it fights for maintaining equality among the citizens and to uphold the principles of secularism, argued that the members of the Muslim and Christian communities in Kerala have grown up to such a level in the fields of socio-economic and education, that the unfair benefits that they get under the guise of being a minority community, thereby enjoying special provisions, are needed to be revised.

The petitioner organisation sought reliefs before the Kerala High Court so as direction to the Union of India compelling and commanding it to re-determine the minority status Muslim and Christian Communities in Kerala and direction to not to give any protection, consideration, preferential treatment to the Muslims and Christians in the State of Kerala as if they are minority communities forthwith.

Case Title: CADETS Vs. Union of India & Ors