The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre after hearing a petition filed by lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking the apex court’s order to define the term minority and issue necessary guidelines for its identification.
A three-judge bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued a notice to the Union of India (UOI) on hearing Upadhayay’s petition.
Upadhyay has also challenged the validity of section 2(C) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, which gives unbridled power to the Centre to declare any community minority arbitrarily.
Upadhyay, in his petition, stated that the minority welfare schemes are not being appropriately used in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
“Legitimate share of the minorities is being siphoned off arbitrarily to unqualified sections of the population, because of non-identification and non-notification of minorities at State level,” the petition said.
The petitioner also said that the denial of minority rights to real minorities and arbitrary and irrational disbursement of minority benefits to majority infringes upon the fundamental right to the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.