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Supreme Court Transfers Petitions Challenging National Minority Commission Act From HCs To Itself

Sohini Chowdhury
7 Jan 2022 12:57 PM GMT
Supreme Court Transfers Petitions Challenging National Minority Commission Act From HCs To Itself
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On Friday, the Supreme Court allowed petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the National Minority Commission Act, 1992 ("NMCA") to be transferred from the Gauhati, Meghalaya and Delhi High Courts to itself. A Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh was also hearing a connected matter, wherein the provisions of National Commission for Minority...

On Friday, the Supreme Court allowed petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the National Minority Commission Act, 1992 ("NMCA") to be transferred from the Gauhati, Meghalaya and Delhi High Courts to itself.

A Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh was also hearing a connected matter, wherein the provisions of National Commission for Minority Education Institution Act 2004 were assailed. Considering the surge in the COVID -19 cases; limited functioning of the Apex Court; and on the request of the Solicitor General of India, Mr. Tushar Mehta, the Bench granted four (4) weeks time to the Union of India to file Counter Affidavit and two weeks (2) time, thereafter to file rejoinder. The Registry was directed to list the matter after seven (7) weeks.

"Last opportunity granted to the Respondents to file their Counter Affidavit within further 4 weeks. Rejoinder be filed within 2 weeks thereafter. List after 7 weeks.

With respect to the transfer petition, Mr. Mehta informed the Court that the Union of India was not opposing the plea of transfer of the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the NMCA pending before different High Courts. Senior Advocate, C.S. Vaidyanathan appearing on behalf of the Petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay informed the Court that similar petitions were pending before three courts, namely Gauhati, Meghalaya and Delhi High Courts.

"There are Petitioners pending in the High Court - Gauhati High Court , Meghalaya High Court and Delhi High Court."

The Bench enquired, "Relief is the same?"

Mr. Vaidyanathan appraised the Court that the reliefs are the same and he had set out the reliefs separately for the convenience of the Court.

The Bench further enquired, "The Petitioner has filed petition in different places?"

Answering in the negative, Mr. Vaidyanathan stated that one was filed by Ashwini Upadhyay and other two were filed by Delina Khongdup and Pankaj Deka respectively. He further clarified that there was no opposition posed by the said petitioners in transferring the petition to the Supreme Court.

"They have been served?", asked the Bench.

As Mr. Vaidyanathan responded in the affirmative, the Bench enquired if the other petitioners had been represented before it. Mr. Ashwini Upadhyaya informed the Bench that on earlier occasions Senior Advocate, Mr. Gopal Shankaranarayanan had represented Mr. Pankaj Deka and Senior Advocate, Mr. Anupam Lal Dash had represented Ms. Delina.

Considering that the three petitions deal with the same issue and no opposition has been posed by the Union of India, the Bench decided to transfer the petitions to the Supreme Court and tag them. The Bench further indicated that the matter would be taken after the prevalent Covid-19 surge stabilises.

[Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India W.P.(C) No. 836/2020; Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India T.P.(C) No. 1211-1213/2020]

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