The Supreme Court on Monday directed the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to take a decision within three months on a representation seeking laying down of guidelines for defining the term ''minority'' in the context of state-wise population of a community.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay to re-file his representation to the minority panel which, in turn, will take a decision on it within three months from Monday.
Mr Upadhyay, in his plea, has said that the term minority needed to be redefined and reconsidered in the context of population of a community in a state, instead of nationwide population data.
The plea said that Hindus, who are a majority community as per national data, are a minority in several north-eastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the Hindu community is deprived of benefits which are available to the minority communities in these states, the plea said, adding that NCM should reconsider the definition of minority in this context.
The apex court had on November 10, 2017, declined to entertain a plea filed by Mr Upadhyay seeking minority status for Hindus in seven states and one Union Territory and asked him to approach the National Commission for Minorities.
The plea had sought minority status for Hindus in seven states and one Union Territory where the number of the community has fallen down, according to the Census 2011.
"According to 2011 Census, Hindus are minority in eight states -- Lakshadweep (2.5 percent), Mizoram (2.75 percent), Nagaland (8.75 percent), Meghalaya (11.53 percent), J&K (28.44 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (29 percent), Manipur (31.39 percent) and Punjab (38.40 percent).
"Their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither Central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a ''minority'' under the National Commission for Minority Act. Therefore, Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights," the plea had said.
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