A plea has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to restore the representation of the Anglo-Indian community in the House of the People and in the Legislative Assembly of the States by nomination.
A division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla asked the Centre to file it's submissions with relevant documents within a period of six weeks while listing the matter for further hearing on November 18. However, no formal notice has been issued yet.
The plea has been filed by the Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations in India, a registered society who claims to have been formed with the objective of promoting the unity and well-being of the Anglo-Indian community in India. The petition has been filed through KMNP Law.
Advocate Kuriakose Varghese appeared for the petitioner.
The plea challenges the Constitution (One Hundred and Fourth Amendment) Act, 2019 as being ultra vires the Constitution to the extent that it removes the constitutional safeguard under Articles 331, 333 and 334, vis-à-vis, Anglo-Indian Community in derogation of Fundamental Rights enumerated in Articles 14, 21 and 29 and to strike down the same.
The plea also seeks to declare that the Constitution (One Hundred and Fourth Amendment) Act, 2019 is violative of the basic structure doctrine and other Constitutional rights enshrined under Articles 333 and 334, to the extent the same excludes only Anglo-Indian representation from the Parliament and Assemblies.
In the alternative, the plea also seeks directions on the Centre to constitute a high powered committee of experts, headed by a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India or a former Chief Justice of a High Court to conduct a comprehensive study de novo on the accurate number or data with respect to the population of the Anglo-Indian community in a time bound manner and their conditions.
The plea avers that Amendment in question was done without any study or basis, arbitrarily and unfairly removed the process of nomination of the members of the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies.
"It is submitted that a response to an Application filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005 by the Petitioner, seeking reasons for the denial of representation in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for the Anglo- Indian community, inter alia cites the reason to be their miniscule population i.e. 296," the plea adds.
In this backdrop, it has been submitted that the decision to not extend the period of operation of Article 331 and 333 was based on "incorrect data and insufficient information" from the 2011 census.
The 2011 census was widely criticised and was interestingly not used for the SC and ST enumeration, the plea adds.
"The last and final representation given to the Joint Secretary, Anglo-Indian Affairs, (Anglo-Indian Matters), Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India and the one to the Hon'ble Minister for Minority Affairs, Government of India on 23.04.2021 has also fallen on deaf ears," the plea states further.
Title: The Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations in India v. Union of India and Ors.