The National Commission for Minorities Act defines a minority as “a community notified as such by the Central government.” The term “minority” is not defined in the Indian Constitution. However, the Constitution recognises religious and linguistic minorities.

As per TMA Pai Foundation vs. State of Karnataka case in the Supreme Court, a minority either linguistic or religious is determinable only by reference to the demography of the State and not by taking into consideration the population of the country as a whole.

When we discuss the term minorities we should not limit ourselves to religious minorities. Linguistic minorities, transgender etc are also considered minorities in the larger socio-political framework.

The following communities have been notified as minority communities by the Government of India, Ministry of Minority Affairs;

  1. Sikhs
  2. Muslims
  3. Christians
  4. Zoroastrians
  5. Buddhists
  6. Jains