Meghalaya High Court
Meghalaya High Court. Image credit -

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in Meghalaya High Court requesting granting of “minority status” to Hindus, Niam Khasi, Niam Tynrai and Songsarek.

Delina Khongdup, a Shillong-based advocate and a social-political activist filed the PIL in Meghalaya High Court stating that Hindus and other indigenous religious communities like Niam Khasi, Niam Tynrai, Songsarek, etc are not included in Meghalaya as ‘minority’.

The Public Interest Litigation has been filed alleging that Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minority (NCM) Act is arbitrary and contrary to Articles 14, 15, 21, 25, 26, 29 & 30 of the Constitution.

“People belonging to the Christian community, which is the majority religion in Meghalaya are getting the benefit of the minority religion, while people belonging to actual minority religion like Hindu, Niam Khasi, Niam Tynrai, Songsarek, etc have been deprived of the benefit of any minority schemes…,” the petition by Delina Khongdup,s aid.

The petition stated that as per the 2011 census, the religion-wise population of Meghalaya is: Hindu: 11.53%, Muslim: 4.40%, Christian: 74.59%, Sikh: 0.10%, Buddhist: 0.33%, Jain: 0.02%, Other Religions: 8.71% and Not Stated: 0.32%.

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The Notification dated 23.10.1993 facilitates the violation of fundamental rights. It is also against the equality, justice, and secularism, the great golden goals of our Constitution, the petitioner said.

The petitioner has requested the Meghalaya High Court for a proper definition for ‘minority’ and frame guidelines for their identification at State level, in the spirit of the provision of Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India.

Delina Khongdup quoted a Supre Court judgment in TMA Pai Case [(2002) 8 SCC 481], in order to ensure that only those religious and linguistic groups, which are socially economically and politically non-dominant and numerically very inferior, enjoy rights and protections, guaranteed under Articles 29-30 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner also requested the High Court to declare invalid and ultra-vires the Notification dated 23.10.1993 issued by the Central Government on Minority under Sec 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992.

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