17 Oct 2022 11:14 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea which sought a declaration that Smartha Brahmins living in Tamil Nadu who follow Advaitha philosophy are a minority.A bench comprising Justices Krishna Murari and S Ravindra Bhat dismissed the petition challenging the Madras High Court's judgment which held that Smartha Brahmins do not constitute a religious denomination.The counsel for the...
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea which sought a declaration that Smartha Brahmins living in Tamil Nadu who follow Advaitha philosophy are a minority.
A bench comprising Justices Krishna Murari and S Ravindra Bhat dismissed the petition challenging the Madras High Court's judgment which held that Smartha Brahmins do not constitute a religious denomination.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that the High Court did not consider the Shirur Mutt judgment. "We only pressed whether Brahmins are minority", the counsel submitted.
"Many people in the country follow the advaita philosophy…. followers of Advaita are not a minority", the bench orally observed.
"It's a theological belief. You can be a Smartha Brahmin following Advitya philosophy", the bench added.
"We are only pressing it because we have established a school in Tuticorin", the counsel added.
"You can't claim linguistic minority as well", the bench said. "In that case we will have a nation of minorities", the bench added before dismissing the petition.
The High Court of Tamil Nadu had observed that the Smartha Brahmins were just a caste/community without any peculiarity specifically attributable to them that distinguished them from other Brahmins of the State of Tamil Nadu. Thus, they could not be identified as a religious denomination and were not entitled to benefits under Article 26 of the Constitution.
The petitioner had approached the Principal District Munsif Court for the relief of declaration that they are entitled to the benefits and privileges conferred under Article 25(1), Article 26, Article 29(1) and Article 30(1) of Indian Constitution in view of their minority character. The suit was dismissed by the trial court. On appeal, the Subordinate Judge concurred with the findings of the trial court and dismissed the appeal. Hence the plaintiffs approached the High Court where the appeal was dismissed.
The High Court held that Smartha Brahmins do not follow any distinct or different religious beliefs other than that of the Hindus following the mainstream Hindu religion. Whatever is said to be followed by the Smartha Brahmins is being followed by other Brahmins also. The High Court held that in the present case, the appellants had not established that they were a collection of individuals who have a particular system of belief or doctrine. They had also not established that they have a common organisation or that they are having an independent designation or a distinctive name. Thus, they could not be construed as a denomination.
Case Title: Smartha Barhmins living in the State of Tamil Nadu practicing and propagating the Religious Philosophy and tents of Advaitha Philosophy through P.S Sundaram and others v. Union of India and others
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