A petition has been filed before the Kerala High Court seeking guidelines to be issued to the Central government and the National Commission for Minorities, requesting them to reassess the minority status of Muslims and Christians in the State and rejudge the list of minorities.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly heard the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) this week.
The petition, filed by the Citizen’s Association for Democracy, Equality, Tranquility, and Secularism (CADETS), asserted that their objective is to fight against discrimination based on religion, caste, sex and to uphold the principles of secularism.
The petitioner alleged that the State Government has not gathered the courage to reassess the minority status due to fear of upsetting the status quo compelling the petitioner to approach the Court.
“Pampering of the Christian and Muslim communities in financial, occupational, professional, educational fields would be a serious jolt to the secular structure of constitutional democracy and the same may lead to multi-nationalism,” the plea stated.
Advocate C Rajendran, representing the petitioners, primarily argued on the ground that under Article 15(4) of the Constitution of India, special provisions are contemplated only regarding the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.
He stated that in Kerala precisely, Muslims and Christians are not socially and educationally backwards. Rather, over the years, they have passed Hindus in terms of education and socio-economic background and their status is to be re-determined.
In addition to this, he submitted that the report of the Paloli Muhammed Committee suppressed material facts to give undue advantage to Muslims and, therefore, the report cannot be acted upon.
In conclusion, he argued that “the Executive has not so far mustered the courage to determine the minority by taking the State as the unit, as it is a sensitive issue. It is easy for the government to maintain the status quo. So it is high time for the Central Government to re-determine the status of a community by taking into account the State as a unit“.
On these grounds, among others, CADETS prayed for a direction to the Centre and National Commission for Minorities to re-determine the minority status of Muslim and Christian communities by considering the State of Kerala as an individual unit.