Threshold Population to Determine Status of Minority

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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:

(1) Muslims
(2) Christians
(3) Sikhs
(4) Buddhists
(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.


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