Indian minority – Today Current Affairs
- Recently, the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition, said that the minority status of religious and linguistic communities is “state-dependent”.
Today Current Affairs
- The petition complains that the followers of Judaism, Wahhabi and Hinduism are de facto minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Punjab and the north-eastern states.
- However, they cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice due to lack of ‘minority’ identity at the state level.
- Religious communities like Hindus are socially, economically, politically non-dominant and few in number in many states.
Decision : The Hindu Analysis
- Every person in India can be a minority in one or the other state.
- A Marathi may be a minority outside his home state Maharashtra.
- Similarly a Kannada speaking person can be a minority in states other than Karnataka.
- The Court indicated that a religious or linguistic community that is a minority in a particular state can claim the right to conduct its own educational institutions under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
Minorities notified by the Government of India : The Hindu Analysis
- At present, only the communities notified by the Central Government under Section 2 (C) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 are considered as minorities.
- Notwithstanding the decision of an 11-judge Supreme Court Bench in the TMA Pai case, which explicitly stipulated that linguistic and religious minorities should be identified at the state level rather than at the national level, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992 Section 2(c) of the Act gave “unbridled power” to the Center to notify minorities. The Hindu Analysis
- MC became a statutory body in the year 1992 with the enactment of the NCM Act, 1992, which was renamed as NCM.
- The first statutory National Commission was set up in the year 1993 and five religious communities namely Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis were notified as minority communities.
- Jains were also notified as a minority community in the year 2014.
Constitutional Provisions for Minorities:
Article 29 : The Hindu Analysis
- It provides that any class of citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to preserve it.
- It provides protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities.
- However, the Supreme Court held that the scope of this article is not limited to minorities only, as the use of the word ‘class of citizens’ in the article includes minorities as well as the majority.
Article 30 : The Hindu Analysis
- All minorities shall have the right to establish and run educational institutions of their choice.
- Protection under Article 30 is limited to minorities (religious or linguistic) only and not to any class of citizens (under Article 29).
Article 350(B) : The Hindu Analysis
- The 7th Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1956 inserted this article which provides for a special officer appointed by the President of India for linguistic minorities.
- It shall be the duty of this special officer to investigate all matters relating to safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
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