SC directs NCM to decide on representation seeking definition of ‘minority’ in 3 months

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to decide within three months on a representation seeking laying down of guidelines for defining the term ‘minority’ based on state-wise population of a community instead of the national average.

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.

“Instead of entertaining the present writ petition, we are of the view that at this stage the National Commission for Minorities should be asked to consider the representation dated November 17, 2017 filed by the petitioner (Annexure P2 to the writ petition) and pass appropriate orders thereon,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

“The Court would expect the National Commission for Minorities to take decision in the matter as early as possible, preferably within a period of three months from today. Once the said exercise is completed, the petitioner will be free to avail of such remedies as available to him in law,” it said.

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.