The Kerala High Court on Thursday heard a public interest litigation that urged the Centre to reasses the minority status of Muslims and Christians in the State.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly, after hearing the arguments of the petitioner, reserved orders in the matter.
The petitioner Citizens Association for Democracy, Equality, Tranquility, and Secularism (CADETS) is an organization that fights against discrimination and attempts to maintain equality among the citizens. Advocates C Rajendran and K Vijayan appeared for the petitioner.
The petition was filed seeking a direction to the Centre to assess the conditions of Muslim and Christian minorities in Kerala to determine if they have to be continued in the list of minority communities in the State, and thereby to re-determine the list of minorities. The petitioner organization also prayed that a direction be issued to the Centre to evaluate the progress of development of these communities in the State through the National Commission for Minorities.
The primary contention in the petition was that Muslims and Christians no longer had any apprehension that the majority community may dominate them or deprive them of their socio, economic and educational rights. In fact, it was submitted that although they were below the Hindu population in numbers, had advanced to such a higher level than Hindus in all walks of life over the years in the State.
CADETS relied on the landmark decisions of Bal Patil & Anr v. Union of India & Ors [AIR 2005 SC 3172] and TMA Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka [2002 (8) SCC 481] to support their argument that a community should be protected only if there was apprehension that the majority community may dominate them and deprive their rights and interest in socio-economic and educational fields.
It was also contended that the report of the Paloli Muhammed Committee suppressed relevant facts and figures so as to give undue advantage to the Muslims and the Committee itself was constituted against the principles of secularism and democratic values. Hence, it was alleged that the report cannot be acted upon.
The petitioner added that 'the pampering of the Christian 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.'
On the aforementioned grounds, the organization prayed for a direction to the Centre and the National Commission for Minorities to re-determine the minority status of Muslim and Christian communities in Kerala taking into account the State as a unit.
Case Title: Citizens Association for Democracy, Equality, Tranquility, and Secularism (CADETS) v. Union of India & Ors.