SC asks Centre, J&K to sit and decide Muslim minority status

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had on September 22 rejected the plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already constituted a Committee of Experts through its memorandum dated
SC asks Centre, J&K to sit and decide Muslim minority status
Author

30 March, 2017

Last month, the apex court imposed a cost of Rs30,000 on the government for not filing its reply to a PIL [public interest litigation] alleging that minority benefits were being enjoyed by majority Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.

A Bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul gave this suggestion to the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and asked him to weigh in the disadvantages of using pellet guns on students as it concerns life and death of human beings.

"This is a very, very important issue".

Appearing for the state government, senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium said he had advised the Jammu and Kashmir government to demonstrate utmost "inclusiveness" and grant equal protection to all communities. "You both sit together and take a stand on it", the bench said.

Sharma alleged the provisions of the National Commission for Minorities Act is not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir due to caveat put by Article 370 of the Constitution and moreover, crores of rupees are being given to members of the majority community under various schemes meant for linguistic and religious minorities. A state is responsible for protecting its minorities.

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It has been settled that the identification of minority communities has to be decided as per the population data of the region in question, the petitioner had said.

The Indian Supreme Court on Monday asked New Delhi and authorities in Indian occupied Kashmir to decide upon whether Muslims can be treated as a minority in the disputed region, the Times of India (TOI) reported.

Sharma had also sought the setting up of a State minority commission in the J&K. This unavailability of the minority status and absence of due share in benefits are jeopardising their constitutionally guaranteed rights that is enshrined under Part III of the Constitution of India.

The division bench of the SC admitted the petition for hearing by KHBA and directed the Central Government to submit the report of the team of experts constituted on the use of pellet guns before the court.

After hearing arguments in the case, the apex court had suggested the government to consider other technology-based measures like microwave to disperse the protesters and water which tastes and smell foul that will make people go away.


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