Matter will have far-reaching ramifications, sensitive in nature’, Centre to SC on identifying minorities.The central government has sought more time from the Supreme Court to hold consultations with the state governments on petitions seeking to identify minorities, including Hindus, at the state level.In a status report, the Ministry of Minority Affairs said that the 14 state governments, namely Punjab, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, West Bengal, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and three union territories (UTs) namely Ladakh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, and Chandigarh have furnished their comments/views.
He added that since the comments/views of the remaining 19 State Governments/UTS on the matter have not been received so far, a reminder has been sent to those States requesting them to send their views as early as possible so that the said comments/views can be placed before the Supreme Court. “That in view of the position stated above, it is humbly submitted that since the matter is sensitive in nature and will have far-reaching ramifications, this court may kindly consider allowing more time to enable the state governments/union territories and stakeholders with whom the consultative meetings have already been held, to finalise their considered views in the matter,” said the report.
Also in August the central government requested more time before the Supreme Court for broader consultations with states and the UT on the state-level identification of religious minorities, including Hindus.In May, the Supreme Court issued a clear statement on the Center’s uncertainty and petition to receive an order to establish guidelines for identifying ethnic minorities, including Hindus, at the state level. Said it didn’t come out.The Supreme Court had said in May that the Center was indecisive and had not taken a clear stand on the petition seeking guidelines for identification of minorities, including Hindus, at the state level. The Supreme Court said that if the Center wants to negotiate with state governments to give minority status to Hindus where they are outnumbered by other communities, it should do so.
In a previous affidavit, the ministry had said: “State governments can also declare a religious or linguistic community as a minority community within the said state. For instance, the government of Maharashtra has notified Jews as a minority community within the state of Maharashtra.”