Minority benefits to J&K Muslims: SC asks Centre to reply
New Delhi, Sep 2: A plea alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims who were in a majority in Jammu and Kashmir, has been filed in the Supreme Court which today asked the Centre, the state government and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to respond to it.
A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar took note of the fact that neither the state, nor the Centre or the NCM have filed their replies and asked them to do it in six weeks.
The court was hearing a PIL by Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma who alleged that 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.
It has been settled that the identification of minority communities has to be decided as per the population data of the state in question, Sharma said.
The apex court, which had earlier issued notices to Ministry of Minority Affairs of Jammu & Kashmir government, National Minority Commission and others, however, had refused to restrain authorities from disbursing benefits to any community in the state.
The PIL has also sought the setting up of State Minority Commission for identification of minorities. "The population of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir according to the 2011 Census is 68.31 per cent.
Communities which are eligible to be notified as minorities, were 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.
"This clearly reflects the unfairness and discrimination of the State towards the communities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which are eligible to be notified as minorities," the petition alleged.
The plea also sought directions to consider extension of National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992 to Jammu and Kashmir and make amendments so that benefits available to minorities of other states could also be given to the minorities of J&K.