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Plea in Meghalaya HC seeking minority status for Hindus, Niam Khasi, Niam Tynrai, Songsarek

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New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Meghalaya High Court alleging that Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minority (NCM) Act is arbitrary and contrary to Articles 14, 15, 21, 25, 26, 29 & 30 of the Constitution.

The petition has been filed by Delina Khongdup an advocate and a social-political activist, stating that the cause of action happened on October 23, 1993 when the Central Government had notified minority in terms of Sec 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, without declaring the Hindus and other indigenous religious communities such as Niam Khasi, Niam Tynrai, Songsarek, etc in the State of Meghalaya as Minority.

The petitioner alleges that “Section 2(c) of the NCM Act is arbitrary and contrary to Articles 14, 15, 21, 25, 26, 29 & 30 of the Constitution. The Notification dated 23.10.1993 facilitates the violation of fundamental rights viz. right to health, right to education, right to shelter and right to livelihood, etc. It is also against the equality, justice, and secularism, the great golden goals of our Constitution.”

The petition stated that as per the 2011 census, the religion-wise population of Meghalaya is:

·         Hindu: 11.53%

·         Muslim: 4.40%

·         Christian: 74.59%

·         Sikh: 0.10%

·         Buddhist: 0.33%

·         Jain: 0.02%

·         Other Religions: 8.71%

·         Not Stated: 0.32%

Referring to the above-mentioned numbers, the petition argues that

“the people belonging to the Christian community, which is the majority religion in the state of Meghalaya, are getting the benefit of the minority religion, on the other hand, people belonging to actual minority religion like Hindu, Niam Khasi, Niam Tynrai, Songsarek, etc in the state have been deprived of the benefit of any minority schemes and thereby contributing to the loss of taxpayers money with utmost certainty for the failure of minority scheme for reason that the benefits of such minority scheme has been landing in the hands of majority in the state and therefore requires interference by this Hon’ble Court for ensuring justice to the needy and poor who are at the minority in the state.”

The petitioner has sought the following directions:

a.       define ‘minority’ and frame guidelines for their identification at State level, in the spirit of the provision of Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India and the judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court in TMA Pai Case [(2002) 8 SCC 481], in order to ensure that only those religious and linguistic groups, which are socially economically and politically non-dominant and numerically very inferior, enjoy rights and protections, guaranteed under Articles 29-30 of the Constitution of India;

b.      declare invalid and ultra-vires by this court the Notification dated 23.10.1993 issued by the Central Government on Minority under Sec 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992.

c.       declare the Hindus (11.53%) and other indigenous religions of Meghalaya,like NiamKhasi, Niamtynrai, and Songsarek, which had been enumerated in census report of 2011 as other religions, consisting of only 8.71%to be as a minority on state wise basis in terms of the NCM Act 1992 and light of the decision of the constitutional bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of TMA Pai Case [(2002) 8 SCC 481].

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d.      pass such other order(s) and/or direction(s) as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the case and allow the cost to petitioner.

Read the petition here;

PIL-SMTI-DELINA-KHONGDUP

– India Legal Bureau

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