“…Commissions set up for minorities have to direct their activities to maintain the integrity and unity of India by gradually eliminating the minority and majority classes,” the judges said.
Haven’t we heard this before? “We don’t accept the concept of minorities at all, ” RSS chief KS Sudarshan told Karan Thapar on August 14, 2000. The RSS was opposed to the establishment of the Minroities Commission. The BJP followed suit.
“It is therefore necessary, that the minorities commission should act in a manner so as to prevent generation of feelings of multi-nationalism in various sections of the people of Bharat.
The commission, instead of encouraging claims from different communities for being added to the list of notified minorities under the Act, should suggest ways and means to help to create social conditions where the list of notified minorities is gradually reduced and done away with altogether.”
It is however the religious minorities that bother the judges, however, illogical the distinction they draw. Linguistic minorities are understandable but if the same concept of minorities on the basis of religion is encouraged the whole country will further face division on the basis of religions diversities. We should guard against making our country akin to a theocratic state based on multi-culturalism”.
Theocracies come up when the state proclaims the faith of majority as a ‘general religion and common faith’ of the land. The constitution, wisely, explicitly confers fundamental rights on religious minorities. Three judges of the apex court including the CJI want to do away with that. There is only one political party that supports the judges’ thesis–the BJP.
The Minorities Commission can not lawfully act on the judges’ views based on a flagrant disregard of the constitution. Under the Constitution, only the ‘law’ laid down by the Supreme Court is binding. The petitioners had asked the court to issue a writ to the Centre, not to deliver a lecture to the Minorities Commission.
Minorities are not peculiar to India. They are not a product of British rule or the partition. The UN International convenant or Civil and Poltiical Rights recognises ‘ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities”. The General Assembly adopted a Declaration on their reights in 1992.
The outlook that the three judges bared is in fundamental conflict with that on which the Constitution and the international order rest. This is notthe first judement of its kind. The Supreme Court’s split ruling in the Ayodhya case and the one on Hindutva, which protected the BJP and Shiv Sena’s election campaigns, are otehr instances.
On April 16, 1996 a bench of three judges suggested that the CJI constitutes a larger bench ‘at an earlier date to resolve the conflict in rulings on Hindutva. A decade has rolled by. One wonders when the court will undertake this review.
[Actually, an organisation representing a section of Jains moved the High Court for a writ to notify Jains as minority under the Act. The Supreme Court ruled in the TMA Pai case that the ‘religious and linguistic minorities who have been puton part in Article 30 have to be considered statewise”. Artcile 30 confers on these minorities the fundamental right ‘to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice’.
Thereupon, the centre told the HC that the decision now belonged to the states. Some, Maharashtra included, had already notified Jains as a minority under their State Minority Commission Act. The petitioner, however, argued that the Centre could not ‘shirk’ its duties under the central Act.]