Far reaching ramifications, requires wide consultation: Centre tells Supreme Court on plea seeking minority status for Hindus

  • Gautam Mishra
  • 10:48 AM, 10 May 2022

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has informed the Supreme Court that the question involved in the writ petition seeking minority status for Hindus in states where their numbers have gone below other communities has far-reaching ramifications throughout the country.

The government has said that any stand taken without detailed deliberations with the stakeholders may result in an unintended complication for the country.

The counter affidavit has been filed in the plea filed by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking minority status for Hindus in states where their numbers have gone below other communities

The affidavit states, "The stand to be formulated by the Central Government with regard to issues raised in this group of petitions will be finalised after having a wide consultation with the State Governments and other stakeholders."

"This will ensure that the Central Government is able to place considered view before the Hon'ble Court taking into consideration several sociological and other aspects obviating any unintended complications in future with regard to such a vital issue," the counter-affidavit adds.

Earlier, The Central Government had submitted before the Top Court that the State Governments also have the power to declare a religious or linguistic community as a ‘minority community’ within the concerned State. 

In its affidavit, the Centre had cited the example of the Government of Maharashtra which had notified the "Jews" as a minority community within the State of Maharashtra in July 2016.

Upadhyay, in the instant plea, had submitted that Article 29 (Protection of Interest of Minorities) and Article 30 (Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions) were brought in keeping in view the then situation and after-effects of the religious partition in mind.

The petitioner referred to the landmark TMA Pai case, and other pertinent precedents to aver that the Supreme Court is entitled to evolve the New Principles of Liability to make the guaranteed remedy to enforce fundamental rights real and effectively and that the power conferred by Article 32 of the Constitution of India is wide and must be used to 'forge new tools and device new remedies'.

“Education is recognized under the head of charity. Thus, allow both minority and majority communities to set up such institutions, if not fall under the special carved out under Article 29-3O. Hence Constitution grants fundamental rights to establish and manage educational institutions by the minority groups as well as the Majority Hindu Community,” states the plea.

Case title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v Union of India