Central Govt submits new affidavit on granting minority status to Hindus in 9 States

Central Government has authority to declare Hindus as minority !

New Delhi – In a petition seeking to grant minority status to Hindus in 9 States and Union Territories of the country, the Central Government has asked the Supreme Court to revoke the old affidavit submitted on 25th March by submitting a new affidavit on 9th May. In the new affidavit, the Central Government has said that ‘the power to grant minority status is vested with the Centre and not to the State Governments’. Earlier, the Central Government had said the opposite.

1. The petition, filed by BJP leader Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, states, ‘According to the 2011 census, the number of Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Lakshadweep and Union Territories has gone below as compared to the other communities’. Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay has also challenged the Central Government’s power to notify a community as a minority under the National Minorities Commission Act, 1992.

2. The Centre submitted its first affidavit on 25th March after repeated appeals by the Court that the Central Government should take astance in the case. In that affidavit, the Centre had said that the States also have the concurrent powers to grant minority status.

3. Now, in the second affidavit submitted by the Centre on 9th May, the Ministry of Minorities has said that the previous affidavit should be revoked. The Central Government has the power to notify the granting of minority status. The Ministry of Minority Affairs said that matter has far-reaching ramifications and added that it needed more time for discussions with State governments and other stakeholders.

Why is the Central Government unable to decide ? – Supreme Court

Conveying the Court’s displeasure over the Centre’s changing stance in the new affidavit, Justice S K Kaul said that the Centre has almost backed out of what it had stated earlier. Addressing Centre, he said, ‘What I am not able to understand is (that) Union of India is not able to decide what it wants to do. All this thought should have been given before. This creates uncertainty. And you know all this by its very nature comes into the public domain before we put our eyes to it. So, this creates its own dynamics. You decide what you want to do. If you want to consult, then consult; who is stopping you from consulting’.

Editorial viewpoint

The Government was expected to know this in advance and it should have taken a firm decision on this and given justice to Hindus !

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