A PIL in the Supreme Court seeking the identification of minorities statewise has stirred the minority debate. The argument made under the PIL is that religious and linguistic minorities should be considered state-wise under article 30 of the constitution, challenging the constitutional validity of section 2(c) of National commission for minorities act 1992.

The act declares only Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians as minorities, while groups like Hindus, Baha’is & Jews are deprived of their legitimate right.

Putting the onus on states, the Centre has now told Supreme Court that states/UTs can notify and lay guidelines to declare a community as a religious or linguistic minority. It submitted that notification of any community-specific to a state as a minority comes under the purview of the state concerned. It presented an example of Maharashtra government, which has notified Jews as a minority community in 2016. It also cited an example of Karnataka government that has notified Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Lamani and Gujarati among others as minority languages.

The Centre further added that states can certify institutions as being minority institutions as per the rules of the said state and that the scheme for minorities are only enabling provisions to achieve inclusiveness and cannot be held to suffer from infirmity.