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Supreme Court annoyed by the different stand of the Center on the matter of identification of minorities in the states, said – discuss with the states

New Delhi, May 10 (Agency)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the Center taking a different stand on the issue of identification of minorities, including Hindus, at the state level and directed it to discuss the matter with the states within three months. Earlier, the Center on Monday told the court that the power to notify minorities rests with the central government and any decision in this regard would be taken after discussions with states and other stakeholders. The Center had said in March that it is for the states and union territories to decide whether or not to grant minority status to Hindu communities and other communities that are less in number. A bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundaresh said that in such a case an affidavit has been filed that both the Center and the states have powers. The bench observed, “Later you say that the Center has power. In a country like ours, where there is so much diversity, we should be more careful. Before these affidavits are filed, everything is available in the public domain, which has different results. So you should be careful about what you say.

While pronouncing the verdict, the bench said, “Minority Affairs Ministry has filed a fresh affidavit, in which it appears to be going back from the earlier affidavit and we do not appreciate it.” It said, “A stand has already been taken in the first affidavit, but as per the latest affidavit, the power to identify the minorities rests with the Central Government… In view of the aforesaid situation, it is necessary that the Center should act as proposed.” List the matter for August 30. The bench directed to file the status report three days before the hearing. The top court also refused to hear the plea of ​​Meghalaya’s socio-cultural organization seeking intervention in the matter and asked it to approach the authorities concerned with the representation.

The top court said that these are matters which need to be resolved and everything cannot be adjudicated. At the commencement of the hearing, a junior lawyer requested for the matter to be heard later saying that the Solicitor General was busy in some other court. The bench said, “We do not understand that the Union of India is not able to decide what to do. All these ideas were to be given in advance. This creates uncertainty and things come to a public forum before we are even considered. This creates another problem.” The bench then remarked, “If the Center wants to consult with the states, then we have to take a decision. It cannot be a solution to say that everything is so complicated, we will do that. The Indian government cannot answer this. You decide what you want to do. If you want to discuss with them, do so. Who is stopping you from doing this?”

The court said, “These matters need to be resolved. Taking a different approach will not help. If there is a need for deliberation, it should have been done before the filing of the affidavit. The apex court had earlier given four weeks to the Center to respond to a plea seeking directions for framing of guidelines for identification of minorities at the state level, saying that Hindus in 10 states are minorities. In an affidavit filed in response to a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the Ministry of Minority Affairs said that the Central Government has notified six communities as minorities under Section 2C of the National Commission for Minority Communities Act, 1992. “The question included in the writ petition has far-reaching implications for the entire country and therefore any decision taken without detailed consultation with the stakeholders may create an unforeseen complication for the country,” the affidavit said.

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