PIL against scholarships for religious minorities

via www.organiser.org published on March 1, 2009

Mumbai : A PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court against a
scholarship scheme for religious minorities. The scheme, launched by
the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs last year, provides for 20,000
scholarships on merit and income basis for students from Muslim, Sikh,
Christian and Parsi communities.

Petitioner Sanjeev Punalekar, a city-based advocate, has taken
exception to it saying that “it excludes Hindus and Jains, who
constitute eighty per cent of the population”. Such “discrimination” on
the basis of religion is against the constitutional principle of
equality, the petition said.

Further, it violates the Hindus’ and the Jains’ freedom to
practice their respective religions, as the sops to other religionists
“makes them (the Hindus and the Jains) more vulnerable to the
allurement” and leads to conversions, the PIL alleges.

Last week, a Division Bench of Justices JN Patel and VK
Tahilramani posted the petition after four weeks for hearing, asking
the Centre to file its reply.

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