The Supreme Court has been told that states can declare a community minority

Supreme Court

The centre has told the Supreme Court that state governments can declare any religious or linguistic community, including Hindus, as a minority inside the state.

The reply was made in response to a petition filed by counsel Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who sought directives for the formulation of state-level standards for recognising minorities, claiming that Hindus are a minority in ten states and are unable to benefit from minority-specific initiatives.

According to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, issues such as whether followers of Hinduism, Judaism, or Bahaism can establish and administer educational institutions of their choice in the respective states, as well as issues relating to their status as a minority within the state, should be addressed at the state level.

The NCMEI Act authorises the Centre to identify and notify minority communities in India under Section 2(f).

“It is submitted that state governments can also declare a religious or linguistic community as a minority community inside the stated state,” the Ministry of Minority Affairs said. “The Maharashtra government, for example, has designated ‘Jews’ as a minority community within the state. In addition, the Karnataka government has designated Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Lamani, Hindi, Konkani, and Gujarati as minority languages in the state “It was stated.

The ministry further denied that section 2(f) of the statute gives the Centre unrestricted power.

The state is entirely within its rights to implement a regulatory framework in the national interest to supply minority educational institutions with well-qualified teachers in order for them to attain excellence in education, according to the Supreme Court in the TMA Pai Foundation case.

The argument stated that minorities, whether based on religion or language, have the freedom to create and run educational institutions of their choice, citing Article 30 of the Constitution.

Denial of minority rights to actual religious and linguistic minorities, according to the petition, is a breach of minority rights entrenched in Articles of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court had already granted a request to transfer cases from numerous high courts to it in response to the Centre’s announcement declaring five communities as minorities: Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis, and had linked the matter with the main petition.

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