SC seeks AG’s help on plea over minority definition

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Friday sought the assistance of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal in dealing with a plea challenging the validity of a 26-year-old notification declaring five communities as minority.

The order by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose came when senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the law on the declaration of minority community on the basis of national data was illegal.

The court was hearing a petition filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The court directed the petitioner to supply a copy of the petition to the office of the Attorney General and listed it for hearing after four weeks.

The petitioner has challenged the validity of the National Commission for Minority (NCM) Act, 1992, under which the notification was issued on October 23, 1993 declaring five communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis — as minorities.

Upadhyay also sought fresh guidelines to define the term minority, based on state-wise population of a community instead of the national average.

He highlighted the 2011 census and 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.