The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response of the Centre on a plea claiming that Hindus are minorities in various states and union territories but are being denied rights enjoyed by other minority groups.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the ministries of Home Affairs, Law and Justice and Minority Affairs, seeking their stand on the plea which wants the Centre to define the word ''minority'' and frame guidelines for their identification at the state level.
The petition by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has claimed that "Hindus are the real minority in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur".
"But, their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither the Centre nor respective state has notified them as a ''minority'' under section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act.
"Thus Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under Articles 29-30," Upadhyay has contended. He has further stated in his plea that Muslims are a majority in Lakshadweep (96.58%) and Kashmir (96%) and there is significant population of the community in Ladakh (44%), Assam (34.20%), West Bengal (27.5%), Kerala (26.60%), Uttar Pradesh (19.30%) and Bihar (18%).
"However, they are enjoying ''minority'' status, and followers of Judaism (0.2%) and Bahaism (0.1%), which are real minorities, are not getting their legitimate share because of non-identification and non-notification of minorities at state level, thereby jeopardising their basic rights guaranteed under the Constitution," his petition has said.
It also claimed that "similarly, Christians are undoubtedly in majority in Mizoram (87.16%), Nagaland (88.10%), Meghalaya (74.59%) and there is significant population in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal but they are treated as minority."
"Likewise, Sikhs are a majority in Punjab and there is significant population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana. But, they are also treated as minority. Buddhists are majority in Ladakh but treated as minority," it added.
Upadhyay has alleged that "legitimate share" of Hindus was being "siphoned off arbitrarily to unqualified sections of population", because of non-identification and non-notification of minorities at state level.
He has also contended that denial of minority rights to real minorities and arbitrary disbursement of minority benefits to majority, "infringes upon fundamental right to prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth".