The plea by Upadhyay has challenged the constitutional validity of Section 2(f) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act 2004 (NCMEI Act) which defines the term ‘minority’, empowering the Central government to notify minorities.
Pursuant to the same, the Central government through the a notification dated October 23, 1993 notified five communities viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis as minorities without defining ‘minority’ and framing guidelines for identification at the State level, the plea said.
“Hindus are merely 1% in Ladakh, 2.75% in Mizoram, 2.77% in Lakshdweep, 4% in Kashmir, 8.74% in Nagaland, 11.52% in Meghalaya, 29% in Arunachal Pradesh, 3849% in Punjab and 41.29% in Manipur but Central Government has not declared them ‘minority’ under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act and Section 2(f) of the NCMEI Act, thus Hindus are not protected under Articles 29-30 and cannot establish-administer educational institution of their choice,” the petition stated.
On the other hand, by using unbridled power under the NCMEI Act, the Centre has arbitrarily declared Muslims as minority, who are 96.58 per cent in Lakshdweep, 95 per cent in Kashmir & 46 per cent in Laddakh, it was pointed out
“Centre has declared Christians as minority, who are 88.10% in Nagaland, 87.16% in Mizoram & 74.59% in Meghalaya so they can establish & administer education institution of their choice. Likewise, Sikhs are 57.69% in Punjab & Buddhists are so% in Laddakh and they can establish & administer educational institution but not the followers of Bahaism & Judaism, who are merely 0.1% and 0.2% respectively,” the plea claimed.
The matter has now been listed for hearing on March 28.