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Centre urges Supreme Court to defer hearing in plea seeking minority status for Hindus in 8 states

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The Central government on Tuesday sought more time from the Supreme Court to submit its views on a petition, seeking minority status for Hindus in states, where their numbers have gone below other communities.

The Union government, by way of an affidavit filed in the Apex Court, said that it needed more time for holding consultative meetings with State Governments, Union Territories and others stakeholders, to finalise its views on the matter.

Filed by Indevar Pandey, Secretary of Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, the affidavit submitted that the Union government has already held meetings with the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, besides the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Out of these, the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, besides the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir were yet to submit their response, noted the affidavit, adding that a reminder has been sent to these states for the same.

The Centre further said that it has taken inputs from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs under the Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Higher Education under the Ministry of Education, the National Commission for Minorities and the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions.

As per the affidavit, all the stakeholders have requested for more time to have wider consultations on the matter, considering its far-reaching implications.

The petition was filed by Advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

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

Earlier, the Union government had submitted before the top court of the country that the state governments also have the power to declare a religious or linguistic community as a ‘minority community’ within the concerned state.

Citing the example of the government of Maharashtra, the Central government said the state had notified ‘Jews’ as a minority community within Maharashtra in July, 2016.

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs Union of India

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