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SC Issues Notice On Plea Challenging National Minorities Commission & Minority Benefit Schemes [Read Petition]

20 Jan 2020 1:49 PM GMT
SC Issues Notice On Plea Challenging National Minorities Commission & Minority Benefit Schemes [Read Petition]
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The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1972.

The plea seeks a declaration that the Act is unconstitutional as being discriminatory and violative. Apart from that, the petition also challenges various financial benefits and educational grants given to minorities.

Without notifying minorities as socially and educationally backward classes under Article 15(4) of the Constitution, the Central Government or the Parliament have no power or jurisdiction to initiate any scheme and provide financial help to them, argue the petitioners.

Before the bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Ravidra Bhat, Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that the matter may require consideration by a constitution bench as the petition raised questions on the constitutional scheme for the protection of minorities.

The matter will be considered by a three judge bench after four weeks, to examine if it requires to be referred to a larger bench.

According to the plea filed by Neeraj Shanker Saxena and five others, who are stated to be the followers of "Santan Vedic Dharm", the establishment of Minorities Commission is a "fraud on the constitution" which was committed by the Central Government to "appease a section of society at the cost of national integration".

The petitioners allege that Central Government is treating Muslims above law and undue advantage was being given to Waqf properties by neglecting Hindu religious establishments.

"the Central Government is treating Muslim community above law and the Constitution and an undue advantage is being given to them ignoring the provisions contained in Article 14,15 and 27 of the Constitution of India. The Hindu trust, mutts and other institutions are being placed at lower pedestal violating the equality clause enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution and the Constitutional injunction embodied in Article 14,15 and 27 of the Constitution of India", states the petition drawn and filed by Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain.

"The Petitioners and other members of Hindu community are suffering because they have been born in majority community", the plea states. 

It is also argued by the petitioners that special schemes of the government for the benefits of minorities are violative of the Constitution. The petition challenges schemes such as Maulana Azad National Fellowship for students of minority communities.

"it is strange that Parliament has approved such schemes violating the constitutional injunction in Article 14,15 and 27 of the Constitution of India at the cost of the interest of similarly situated students of Hindu community. The similarly situated students of Hindu community are being discriminated only on the basis of their religion and on the other hand the members of notified minority communities are being benefited on the basis of their religion", states the petition

It is contended that the tax payers' money is being utilized for the benefit of religious groups named as minority communities. Poor people from Hindu community are deprived of special benefits, and this amounts to a discrimination only on the ground of religion, violating Articles 14 and 15 of the petition.

Discriminating and prejudicing the interest of similarly situated persons of Hindu community is a "serious jolt on the Constitution of India and principles of Secularism". 

The petitioner also voice the alarm that "action of Government giving special treatment to notified minority communities will give rise to unrest and dissatisfaction amongst majority Hindu community".

"Providing special benefit to minority community may allure a number of persons to embrace another religion and there may be demographic changes which is bound to affect to sovereignty and integrity of India", the plea adds.

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