Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

There's no minority in India: SC

Pioneer News service / New Delhi

The Supreme Court has said the practice of notifying religious groups as "minority communities" should be discouraged as it promotes divisive tendencies that weaken the nation.

Observing that the tendency should be gradually done away with, the apex court reminded the minorities commissions set up by the Centre and State Governments that the goal of the Constitution was to create social conditions where there was no need to shield or protect rights of minority or majority communities. These observations were made by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice RC Lahoti, Justice DM Dharmadhikari and Justice PK Balasubramnyan.

"The commissions, instead of encouraging claims from different communities for being added to a list of notified minorities under the Act, should suggest ways to help create social conditions where the list of notified minorities is gradually reduced and done away with altogether," said Justice Dharmadhikari. This observation was made by the court while disposing of a petition demanding minority status for the Jain community. The bench accepted the Centre's stand that it was for the states to determine whether Jains were a minority community depending on their social condition in their respective states.

The court observed, "in a caste-ridden society, no section or distinct groups of people can claim to be in majority. All are minorities among Hindus. Many of them claim such status because of their number and expect protection from the State on the ground that they are backward."

The apex court, taking notice of the reorganisation of states on linguistic basis, stated that differential treatment on the basis of religion would further lead to divisions on basis of religious diversities in a country which is already facing class and social conflicts.

Talking tough against the divisive tendencies that weaken the nation, the bench said the commissions were set up to direct their activities to maintain integrity and unity of India by gradually eliminating the minority and majority classes.

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