Threshold Population to Determine Status of Minority
LAW RESOURCE INDIA NEWS
The Government has said that no policy regarding threshold percentage of population beyond which a community can no longer be called a religious minority has been laid down. Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Parliament recently, the Minister for Minority Affairs, Shri Salman Khurshid said that the provision for declaration of a religious minority community is provided under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Under this provision the Government of India, Ministry of Welfare vide a Gazette notification dated 23.10.1993 had declared five communities as Minority Communities which are as under:
(5) Parsis (Zoroastrians)
Shri Khurshid informed the House that Supreme Court in the case of T.M.A Pai Foundation Vs. State of Karnataka, reported in AIR 2003 SC-2003, had laid down that for the purpose of determining a minority, the unit will be State and not whole of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in CA No.4370/99 (Bal Patil & Another Vrs Union of India) held, inter alia, that statistical data showing that a community is numerically a minority cannot be the sole criterion; the declaration as minority has to be done on consideration of social, cultural and religious condition of that community. A review petition filed by Shri Bal Patil was considered by the Supreme Court on July 9, 2010 and referred to a larger bench and is pending before the Supreme Court for final hearing.