NEW DELHI: Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the Allahabad High Court had in a judgement on April 5, 2007 declared that "Muslims have now ceased to be religious minorities in India and in any case in State of Uttar Pradesh on the basis of their population and strength".
Arguing his PIL challenging validity of the Minorities Act, Upadhyay submitted before a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka that the 15-year-old was not challenged before the court and it has become the law of the land.
The top court, for its part, allowed a plea by Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj on behalf the Union government for further time for holding consultation with the States on the issue of declaring minorities in accordance with their population of the state.
It is, however, important to have a look at the High Court's judgement cited by Upadhyay.
A single judge bench of Justice S N Srivastava in case of 'Committee Of Management, Anjuman Vs State Of U.P. Through Secretary, on 5 April, 2007, had held, "This court is of the firm view that Muslim Religious Community now are not entitled to get any protection under Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution as a religious minority community in Uttar Pradesh".
"This court after taking into consideration proceedings of Constitutional Assembly as well as the report of Advisory Committee on Minority is further of the firm view that the notification dated 23.10.1993 under the National Commission of Minority Act, 1992 issued by the Union of India declaring Muslim as minority is liable to be amended as Muslim Religious community is the only single largest religious majority group in comparison to other religious groups and is not entitle to get any protection under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India," it had said.
Considering various Census Reports including of 1951 and 2001 and, the High Court had directed State of Uttar Pradesh to treat any member of Muslim community equal to other non-minority religious communities without discriminating in any respect in accordance with law being an integral part of citizenry of India.
Among others, the High Court had then issued a writ of mandamus to Union government and the State of Uttar Pradesh to take appropriate steps to modify the notification dated 23.10.1993 issued by the Union of India accordingly.
By October 23, 1993 notifications, institutions founded by the Muslim religion minority were notified as of religious Minority under Section 2(c) of the National Minority Commission Act, 1992.