New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday asked the Centre to respond to a plea seeking deletion of a provision in the Constitution that treats Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists as Hindus for all legal purposes.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued a notice to the Ministry of Law and Justice on a petition that sought implementation of the report of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution.
The panel headed by Justice M N Venketchallaiah had, in its report to the Prime Minister on March 31, 2002, suggested deletion of Explanation II of the Article 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) of the Constitution.
"...The reference Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly," the Explanation II of Article 25 reads.
The plea, filed by Delhi resident Arvinder Kaur, said the provision is in violation of the basic philosophy of the Constitution as it curtails the identity of people belonging to Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion by not recognising them as a separate religion and treating them as Hindus.