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Minorities in India

Minorities in Indian Constitution News

  • Petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to identify Minzorities in India communities district-wise.
  • Recognition of ‘minorities’ by the Centre ignore the fact that ‘majority’ religious communities such as Hindus are actually “socially, economically, politically non-dominant and numerically inferior” in several States.
    • According to 2011 census, Hindus have become a minority in Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%), and Punjab (38.40%).
    • However they are denied minority benefits that are currently being enjoyed by the respective majority communities in these places.
  • The petitioners have also challenged Section 2(f) and Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions Act, 2004 and the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, respectively, passed by Parliament.
    • These Sections specifically empower the Centre to notify a minority community.
  • Petition has sought a direction to the Centre to define ‘minority’ and lay down guidelines for identification of minorities at district level, in order to protect their cultural and educational rights under Articles 29 and 30.

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Minorities in India 2022

  • Expression “minorities” appears in some Articles of the Constitution, but is not defined anywhere in Constitution.
  • Constitutional provisions:
    • Article 29: It deals with the protection of interest of minorities. Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
    • Article 30: It deals with the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
      • All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
    • Article 350 A: There shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.
      • It shall be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the constitution and report to the President upon those matters.

 

Minority Status in India 2022

  • Currently, only those communities notified under section 2(c) of the National Minorities Commission Act, 1992, by the central government are regarded as minority.
  • Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jain and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities.
  • 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 is 14.2%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.7%, Buddhists 0.7%, Jain 0.4% and Parsis 0.006%.
Minorities in India pdf
Minorities in India pdf

Supreme Court Judgments on Minorities in India UPSC Notes

  • DAV College Vs. State of Punjab 1971:
    • Court refers to 2 other cases pertaining to DAV College in Punjab, in which the SC had to consider whether Hindus were religious minorities in Punjab.
    • The court held that the Arya Samaj, who were Hindus, were a religious minority in the state of Punjab, even though they may not have been so in relation to the entire country.
  • TMA Pai Foundation Vs. State Of Karnataka (2003):
    • An 11-judge Bench judgment of the Supreme Court had held that linguistic and religious minorities should be identified State-wise.
  • Bal Patil case (2005):
    • Referring to the TMA Pai Case, the court said that the unit for determining status of both linguistic and religious minorities would be ‘state’.

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