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SC considers Centre's response on setting up of minority panel in J&K

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The today took note of the Centre's response that the and Kashmir government has indicated that it would consider setting up of a and disposed of a PIL alleging that the benefits accruing to minorities there were being taken away by majority Muslim community.

A bench comprising and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submissions of K K Venugopal that the will consider and examine the need and feasibility of setting up of the

Venugopal read out the re-drawn minutes forwarded by the Office Memorandum (OM) of February 23, issued by the central government after the meeting held on January 12 between it and other stake holder states including the and Kashmir.


"The of and Kashmir has, in principle, given indication that (it) will consider and examine the need and feasibility of setting up of a at the relevant point of time as and when need arises based upon the critical study of the social and educational backwardness of the minorities spread across various regions of the state," the memorandum said.

The said that to cater to the special needs of minorities, a special project - Inclusive Development Initiative - has been formulated by the

"The said project will have focussed development effort for certain special segments of the society and will include upgrading of such as health, education and water," he said referring to the OM.

The bench took note of the memorandum and disposed of the PIL filed by Jammu-based who has sought various reliefs including that the central law, governing minority panels, be made applicable in the and Kashmir as well.

"For the present, the steps taken by the respondents (Centre and state) would suffice," it said, adding that it cannot direct the state to make a law applicable.

and Shoeb Alam, appearing for and Kashmir, said the memorandum had made the stand of the clear.

Earlier, the Centre had informed the court that it was still deliberating on a host of issues including whether Muslims, who are majority in and Kashmir, can be treated as minority to get benefits which are only available to minorities.

The top court had earlier issued notice to the Centre, the and the (NCM) on the plea of Sharma alleging that the benefits accruing to the minorities were being taken away by the 68 per cent-strong Muslim community in the state.

The plea had alleged that the rights of religious and linguistic 'minorities' in the state were being "siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily" due to extension of benefits to "unqualified sections" of the population.

The was violating Article 29 (protection of interests of minorities) and Article 30 (right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions) under the Constitution, he had alleged.

The PIL has also sought setting up of a for identification of minorities and extension of (NCM) Act, 1992 to and Kashmir.

"The population of Muslims in and Kashmir according to the 2011 Census is 68.31 per cent. Communities which are eligible to be notified as minorities, are not awarded their due share of scholarship owing to their non-identification as minorities, thereby jeopardising their constitutionally guaranteed rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution of India," it had claimed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 19:35 IST
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