GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Separation of Powers.
A public interest litigation (PIL) under the consideration of the Supreme Court of India challenges the power of the Centre to notify minority communities at a national level.
Who is a minority and who decides that?
- Section 2(f) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions or NCMEI Act 2004: “minority ,”for the purpose of this Act, means a community notified as such by the Central Government.”
- Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992 also gives the Centre similar powers.
What the PIL says?
Section 2(f) is arbitrary and contrary to Articles 14, 15, 21, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
The PIL cited a Supreme Court verdict in its support.
- M. A. Pai Foundation vs State Of Karnataka case of 2002: “for the purpose of determining minority, the unit will be State and not whole India.”
What’s the main issue now?
Centre’s power has created an anomalous situation in which the communities declared as minorities by the Centre enjoy the status even in States/UTs where they are in majority (Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir and Christians in Nagaland for instance) while followers of Hinduism, Judaism and Bahaism who are minorities are not accorded the same status under the Act.
What’s the demand now?
The petition seeks the SC to curtail the Centre’s power to notify national minorities or direct the Centre to notify followers of Hinduism, Bahaism and Judaism as minorities in States/UTs where they are actually fewer in numbers; or direct that only those communities that are “socially, economically and politically non-dominant” besides being numerically smaller in States/UTs be allowed the status of minorities.
What has the Centre said?
The Centre had pointed out that it had concurrent powers with States to take measures for the welfare of minorities.
- States could have minorities notified as such within their jurisdiction, and it even cited the examples of Maharashtra recognising Jews as a minority community and Karnataka recognising speakers of several languages as linguistic minorities.
The Centre has said it would come back to the apex court “after consideration of several sociological and other aspects.”
Minority communities in India at present:
Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and Jains.
Do you want to know more about Minority and the Relevant constitutional provisions in the Indian Constitution for them?
Reference: read this.
Do you know how are minority schools exempt from RTE and SSA? Reference: read this.
- State can regulate minority institutions.
- Article 30.
- Article 14.
- Article 21.
- Minority Status.
Discuss the significance of grant of minority status of a religion in the country.
[Q.3) Which of the following Articles in the Indian Constitution are related to minority communities?
- Article 29.
- Article 30.
- Article 350 B.
Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:
- 1 only.
- 1 and 2 only.
- All of the above.
- None of the above. ]
Sources: the Hindu.