Supreme Court Rejects Tamil Nadu Smartha Brahmins’ Petition Seeking Minority Status

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 18 October 2022 at 22:42 IST

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a petition asking for a declaration that Tamil Nadu-based Smartha Brahmins who belong to the Advaitha philosophical school are a minority.

The case challenging the Madras High Court ruling that Smartha Brahmins do not constitute a religious group was dismissed by a bench comprising of Justices Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat.

The counsel representing petitioner contended that the HC failed to consided the Shirur Mutt judgement. The only issue contested by us was regarding the minorities status of Brahmins.

The bench orally submitted that, “Many people in the country follow the advaita philosophy…. followers of Advaita are not a minority.”

Further adding that the belief is theological, as one can be a Smartha Brahmin following Advitya philosophy. The counsel insisted on preserving the school in Tuticorin.

“You can’t claim linguistic minority as well”, the bench said. “In that case we will have a nation of minorities”, the bench added before dismissing the petition.

The Smartha Brahmins were merely a caste or group, the High Court of Tamil Nadu had observed, with nothing distinctive about them that set them apart from other Brahmins in the State of Tamil Nadu. As a result, they failed to be classified as a particular religious group and were therefore ineligible for benefits under Article 26 of the Constitution.

In attempt to get a declaration that they are entitled to the rights and privileges granted by Articles 25(1), 26, Article 29(1), and Article 30(1) of the Indian Constitution in light of their position as a minority, the petitioner had resorted to the Principal District Munsif Court. The trial court struck down the case.

The Subordinate Judge dismissed the appeal after concurring with the trial court’s conclusions. Hence the plaintiffs approached the High Court where the appeal was dismissed.

The High Court ruled that Smartha Brahmins do not hold any distinctive or unique religious views aside from those of mainstream Hindus. The other Brahmins also stick to whatever the Smartha Brahmins are reported to follow.

The other Brahmins also stick to whatever the Smartha Brahmins are reported to follow. The appellants in this case, according to the High Court, had not proven that they were a group of people who adhered to a certain ideology or school of thought.

Additionally, they have not proven that they belong to the same organisation or that they have a unique name or designation. They could not therefore be considered a denomination. 

Related Post