Notification of minorities | Centre submits views of 24 States to Supreme Court

Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Zorastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992.

January 12, 2023 10:43 pm | Updated January 13, 2023 07:42 am IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Supreme Court building

A view of the Supreme Court building | Photo Credit: ANI

The Delhi government has suggested that the Centre can grant "migrated minority" status to Hindus who have moved to the national capital from places like Jammu and Kashmir or Ladakh where they are a religious minority.

The suggestion by the Delhi government is part of a compilation of views collected by the Centre from 24 States on whether religious and linguistic minority communities should be identified and notified by the Union or the respective States. It is part of an affidavit submitted by the Centre in the Supreme Court.

Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Zorastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992.

As per the Census 2011, the percentage of minorities in the country is about 19.3 of the total population of the country. The population of Muslims are 14.2%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.7%, Buddhists 0.7%, Jains 0.4% and Parsis 0.006%.

"The followers of Hinduism are not the religious minority in the NCT of Delhi but the Central government may declare the 'migrated minority' status to the followers of Hinduism who are the religious minority in their origin State (i.e., Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, etc) and residing in Delhi after migration from their home State," the Centre's note in court quotes the Delhi government.

Tamil Nadu is clear that the identification and notification of religious and linguistic minorities should be made at the State level.

Likewise, West Bengal has also categorically said the power to declare a community as a minority should be with the State. Andhra Pradesh and Assam too have said minorities should be identified Statewide.

Punjab has reasoned that the State is in a better position to appreciate the "interests, well-being and problems" of different communities residing in it and should be allowed to continue to notify its own minorities.

Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have said that it was "comfortable with the present procedure of identifying minorities". Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have left it to the Centre to notify minority communities. Maharashtra is of the opinion that "in the interest of uniformity, the Centre can notify minority communities".

For status quo

Karnataka has called for "status quo" after declaring Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis as minorities in the State. Kerala held the view that the existing provisions of the NCMEI Act, 2004 and NCM Act, 1992 should continue.

The suggestions have come on a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay in the apex court challenging the "exclusive" power given to the Centre under Section 2(f) and Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions (NCMEI) Act, 2004 and the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, respectively, to notify a minority community.

Mr. Upadhyay has argued that the followers of Judaism, Baha’ism and Hinduism — who are the real minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur — cannot even establish and administer educational institutions of their choice in these States.

He has argued that religious and linguistic minorities were spread all over the country and not restricted to any single State or Union Territory. He has sought a clear answer from the government as to whether it is the Parliament or the State legislatures who has the power to notify a minority community and protect its interests in accordance with the constitutional guarantees.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.