Top Court dismisses PIL seeking ‘minority’ status to Hindus in Northeastern states

Top Court dismisses PIL seeking ‘minority’ status to Hindus in Northeastern states

NEW DELHI | FEB 20, 2020:

The Supreme Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Thursday that demanded that Hindus be declared a minority in states where they are numerically in the minority. The apex court had directed the petitioners to approach individual High Courts of the states where Hindus are in minority.

The PIL sought minority status for Hindus in eight states including — Lakshadweep (2.5 per cent), Mizoram (2.75 per cent), Nagaland (8.75 per cent), Meghalaya (11.53 per cent), J&K (28.44 per cent), Arunachal P (29 per cent), Manipur (31.39 per cent) & Punjab (38.40 per cent).

The petition was filed by BJP Delhi leader Ashwani Upadhyay seeking benefits in education and government jobs in these states. The court, however, told the petitioner to approach an appropriate forum to seek the desired changes. While the court has not set any specific date for the petitioner, he has been asked to raise the matter with appropriate authorities.

Upadhyay had contended that those who are not entitled to minority protection under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, exemptions under Articles 15(5) and (6) of the Constitution, provisions of the Right to Education Act and welfare programmes of the Government, etc, are enjoying these measures. This is a clear violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Upadhyay had said that Hindus, who are a majority community as per national data, are in minority in several north-eastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir. He further added that the Hindu community is deprived of benefits that are available to the minority communities in these states.

The PIL comes on the backdrop of protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Student groups and opposition parties have taken to streets opposing the passage of CAA, which extends Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The opposition parties have slammed the government calling the act 'discriminatory' and 'unconstitutional'.

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