The Centre has told the Supreme Court that states can consider granting Hindus the ‘minority’ status, if the community isn't in a very majority within their jurisdictions, to enable them establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, to keep with the rights bound to minorities by the Constitution.
Responding to a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, the Union government in an affidavit said that since the topic of identification of minority communities is within the Concurrent List of the Constitution, both the Centre and therefore the states have the ability to legislate to confer minority status on certain religious or linguistic communities which are in minority within the country or a specific state.
Upadhyay had said that though the followers of Hinduism, Judaism and Bahaism are minorities within the states of J&K, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Manipur and Punjab, the bulk communities in these states are treated as ‘minorities’ due of their national population percentage and that they corner the advantages, which should accrue to the important minorities in them.
The Centre in exercise of its constitutional powers has up to now declared Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains as minorities within the country. However, it said that the states also had the facility to declare a community as a linguistic or religious minority.
The Centre said it absolutely was for the concerned state legislature to contemplate whether these religious groups and communities may be declared minorities to permit them establish and administer educational institutions of their choice in those states. “The state governments may also declare a spiritual or linguistic community as ‘minority’ community within the said state,” it said.
“For instance, the govt. of the state of Maharashtra has made the ‘Jews’ as a minority community within the state. the govt of Karnataka has notified Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Lamani (Lambadi), Hindi, Konkani and Gujarati languages as minority languages within the state,” the Centre said.
It said the states can also certify institutions established by smaller linguistic or religious communities as ‘minority institutions’ within their territorial jurisdictions. “The government of Karnataka on February 13, 2020 had declared Telugu private unaided schools as ‘minority’ schools,” it said.
Indicating that the difficulty of identification of non secular and linguistic minority can't be straight-jacketed, the Centre said, “Religious and linguistic minorities are spread everywhere the country and aren't related or restricted to any single state/UT of India. India could be a country with very unique characteristics. a spiritual group that's in majority in one state could also be in minority in another state.”
Section 2(f) of NCMEI Act empowers the Centre to spot and notify minority communities in India.
The Supreme court within the TMA Pai Foundation case had held that the state is well within its rights to introduce a regulatory regime within the national interest to supply minority educational institutions with well-qualified teachers so as for them to realize excellence in education.
Quoting Article 30 of the Constitution, the plea said that minorities whether supported religion or language shall have the correct to establish-administer educational institutions of their choice.
"These schemes are only enabling provisions so on achieve inclusiveness and thus can't be held to suffer from any infirmity. The support given, under these schemes, to the disadvantaged/underprivileged children/candidates of minority communities can not be faulted with", the affidavit stated.
The petition said that denial of minority rights to actual religious and linguistic minorities could be a violation of the rights of minority enshrined under Articles 14 and 21 (no person shall be bereft of his life or personal liberty except in line with procedure established by law) of the Constitution.