• Affidavit in Supreme Court: States can define minority status as well: Says Centre

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    In the TMA Pai case, the Supreme Court ruled that religious and linguistic minorities must be regarded state-wise for the purposes of Article 30

    Digital Desk: The Supreme Court has chastised the Centre for failing to take a stand on the politically sensitive issue of identifying minorities at the state level and granting minority status to Hindus in states where their numbers have fallen below those of other communities. The Centre has finally broken its silence and placed the onus on states, saying they, too, have the power to declare communities as'minority.' The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs stated in an affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court that "state governments can also proclaim a religious or linguistic group as a'minority community' inside the state." The affidavit was filed in response to a 2020 petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who claimed that according to the 2011 Census, Hindus were a minority in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Punjab and that they should be granted minority status in these states in accordance with the Supreme Court's 2002 TMA Pai ruling. Also Read: Bharat Bandh today and tomorrow: Banking, transport to get affected In the TMA Pai case, the Supreme Court ruled that religious and linguistic minorities must be regarded state-wise for the purposes of Article 30, which deals with minorities' rights to create and govern educational institutions. The Centre had designated five communities — Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians — as minorities in 1993 under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Upadhyay had petitioned the Supreme Court in 2017 for acceptable rules for identifying minorities and for Hindus to be labelled a minority group in several states and UTs where their numbers were lower than the dominant population. While seeking to have the 1993 Central notice overturned, he pointed out that Jains were added to the list of minorities in 2014, but not Hindus, despite being a minority in several states and UTs.

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