Hindus are in minority in UP: HC

via http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Hindus_are_in_minority_in_UP_HC/articleshow/2009474.cms published on May 7, 2007

LUCKNOW: If India could be partitioned in two nations on the basis of 12.58% population of Muslims, the present population of 18.5% makes Muslims in UP a more dominant group in comparison to any other religious community and cannot be treated as religious minority community, writes Justice S N Srivastava of the Allahabad HC in his detailed order in the civil suit filed by Anjuman Madarsa Noorul Islam Dehra Kalan.

While this partially explains the earlier operative order which said that Muslims were no longer a minority in UP, the interesting part of the detailed judgment makes out a case for a minority status of Hindus.

The question raised is whether Hindus are members of one religious group or identity or are a combination of various religious groups like Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Arya Samajis, Shakts, Shaivites, Lingayats. The judge asked, “In case these groups could be considered within Hinduism, then how did the government of India declare Sikhs and Buddhists as religious minority groups?”

And if these groups are treated as minority, “the rest of religious groups born and brought up in India, if taken separately, may be treated in minority” vis a vis Muslims at least in UP where their population is 18.6% and in some districts ranges from 21% to 49%.

Justice Srivastava also said that although the Central govt has notified Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians as minority communities, it did not provide any record to show the criterion for determining a religious minority, a term which has not been defined by the Constitution.

Justice Srivastava’s operative order of April 5 had caused a furore and was stayed by a division bench of Justice SR Alam and Justice Krishna Murari the very next day.

While ruling that Muslims were no longer a minority, Justice Srivastava drew extensively from the Constituent Assembly debate and SC’s oft-quoted judgment in the TMA Pai case. The judgment reproduces the Constituent Assembly deliberations on the rights of minorities which also discussed the demand for special rights, including proportionate representation, for Muslims.

Replying to the entire debate, the president of the Advisory Committee on Minority said, “My friend the Mover of this amendment says the Muslim community today is a strong-knit community. Very good, I am glad to hear that, and therefore I say you have no business to ask for any props. Because there are other minorities who are not well organised, and deserve special consideration and some safeguards, we want to be generous to them…”


 


An 11-judge bench of SC which defined minority had said in the Pai case, “The word minority is not defined in the Constitution but literally it means “a non-dominant group. It is a relative term and is referred to represent the smaller of two numbers, sections or group called majority. In that sense here may be political minority, religious minority, linguistic minority.”

In his detailed order released recently, Justice Srivastava also explained why the court is competent to decide “an issue of public importance which arose in a case where initially the matter was in the nature of private dispute”.



In this context he quoted SC judgment in the Guruvayoor Devaswom Managing Committee case according to which, “In an appropriate case, although the petitioner might have moved a court in his private interest and for redressal of personal grievances, the court in furtherance of the public interest may treat it necessary to enquire into the state of affairs of the subject of litigation in the interest of justice.”

The full bench of the Allahabad High Court had also ruled in a case that “it was within the domain of the court even to enquire the facts of public importance suo moto if exigency so requires…”

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