Thursday, September 28, 2023

Identification of minorities on nationwide/statewise population: 16 states place trust on Centre, 8 beg to differ

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A petition seeking guidelines for identification of minorities based on population of a state instead of the present system based on all-India population, saw different States and Union Territories of the country expressing their varied views on the matter before the Supreme Court.

An affidavit filed by the Central government submitted that 24 States and six Union Territories (UTs) have expressed their views on a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. 

As per the affidavit, filed through Advocate Amrish Kumar, while 16 administrations place their confidence in the Union of India identifying minorities on the basis of national population, eight have favoured the state governments notifying minorities on the basis of their population in the respective state.

Besides, six administrations have taken varied stands.

States such as Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand,  Rajasthan and Telangana were yet to submit their response, along with the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Jammu & Kashmir.

The petition had challenged Section 2(f) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act of 2004, which stated that a minority for the purpose of the Act was a community notified by the Central government.

Apart from Assam, Manipur and Uttarakhand, all other BJP-governed states that filed responses have supported the status quo of national level determination to continue.

States such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Uttar Pradesh, long with the Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Ladakh have said that the status quo should be maintained on the issue.

Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have favoured the state government notifying minorities in their respective States.
Besides, the States of Goa, Mizoram, Odisha and Tripura, along with the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry have taken a varied view on the matter.

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