New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday (December 17) refused to entertain a PIL seeking that minority communities should be defined on the basis of state-wise population data instead of national data. The apex court refused to go into the issue of whether Hindus should be treated as a minority in 8 states for social welfare benefits.
The court said that no guidelines can be framed to define who should be treated as a minority in a particular state. Attorney General did not support the petition, which was filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwani Upadhyay.
Earlier in July, the SC had sought the assistance of Attorney General, K K Venugopal, to deal with the plea seeking that minority communities be defined on the basis of state-wise population data instead of national data.
The bench comprising the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, along with Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose had asked the BJP leader to supply a copy of the petition to the office of the attorney general and listed it for hearing after four weeks.
The plea had challenged the validity of the Central government's 26-year-old notification declaring five communities -- Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis -- as minorities. It also sought to declare as unconstitutional section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minority (NCM) Act, 1992, under which the notification was issued on October 23, 1993.
The petitioner sought the direction for laying down guidelines to define the term 'minority', based on the state-wise population of a community instead of the national average. He added that the notification was violative of fundamental rights to health, education, shelter, and livelihood.
The BJP leader and advocate had filed the public interest litigation (PIL) as he failed to receive any response on his representation from the Home Ministry, the Ministry of Law and Justice and the National Commission for Minorities.
He had submitted that Hindus, who are a majority community as per national data, are a minority in several north-eastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir. The community is deprived of benefits that are available to the minority communities in these states, the plea said, adding that NCM should reconsider the definition of the minority in this context.
Upadhyay sought minority status for Hindus in seven states and one Union Territory where the number of the community has fallen, according to the Census 2011.