The Supreme Court Monday asked the National Commission for Minorities to decide in three months on a representation asking it to define who is a "minority and lay down guidelines for identifying minorities at state-level".
The direction came on a plea by BJP leader and advocate Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay who had moved the apex court in 2017 seeking minority status for Hindus in seven states and one Union Territory where the number of the community has fallen down, according to the Census 2011.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Monday asked the petitioner Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay, to re-file his representation to 0the minority panel which will take a decision within three months from Monday. The plea claimed that the NCM did not reply to his representation and said that the term minority needed to be redefined and reconsidered in the context of the population of a community in a state, instead of nationwide population data.
Upadhyaya 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. However, the Hindu community is deprived of benefits which are available to the minority communities in these states.
The apex court had declined Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay’s PIL in 2017 and had asked him to approach the National Commission for Minorities after the petitioner prayed "for liberty to withdraw this writ petition and instead approach the NCM".
(With PTI inputs)