If the cases are settled in favour of Jains, it will become the sixth designated minority community

The Union Cabinet’s decision on Monday to accord minority status to Jains will be subject to the outcome of pending cases on the issue.

If the court cases are settled in favour of the Jains, the community will become the sixth designated minority community of the country. As per the Cabinet note, Jains will be included as a minority under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act (NCM), 1992.

In 2005, the Supreme Court had disposed the appeal of minority-designation-for-Jains advocate Bal Patil — in the case that now goes by his name — on the ground that the judgment in the T.M.A. Pai case had said States would be the unit for considering demands of both linguistic and religious minority status. A review petition filed by the Centre in this regard is still pending.

Contentious issue

A contentious issue for long since a section of Jains is opposed to being declared a minority, decks were cleared for inclusion of the community under the NCM Act after the Attorney General opined that this would be “neither illegal nor unconstitutional.”

Officials in the Ministry said no separate legislation is needed and the executive order for including Jains within the ambit of the NCM would suffice. The NCM had made out a case for designating Jains as a minority community way back in 2000.

This decision will allow the community to run their educational institutions as per the same rules that govern all minority institutions. As of now, Jains are regarded as minorities in some States including Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

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