New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday agreed to hear on January 7 a plea seeking transfer of cases from several high courts to it against the Centre's notification to declare five communities -- Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees -- minorities even in those states and union territories where they are in majority.
The apex court had on February 9 this year issued notices to the ministries of home affairs, law and justice and minority affairs seeking their responses on the submission seeking transfer of similar pleas to itself.
A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul was urged by advocate petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay that the plea needed to be heard as it has been deleted six times from the list of business.
"I have challenged the validity of the National Commission for Minority Act, 1992 and National Commission for Minority Education Institution Act, 2004," the lawyer said.
"What is the urgency," the bench, also including Justice M M Sundresh, asked.
Central and state governments are spending thousands of crores of rupees every year and Hindus, who are in minority in several states, are not getting the benefits meant for minorities, Upadhyay said.
Earlier, a bench headed by the then CJI S A Bobde had taken note of the submission that high courts at Delhi, Meghalaya and Guwahati are seized of the petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, under which the notification was issued on October 23, 1993.
The notification had declared the five communities as minorities across the country, leading to a situation where majority population of Sikhs in Punjab and Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir are availing of the benefits meant for minorities, the transfer petition alleged.
Upadhyay has sought transfer of all cases from high courts to the apex court for an authoritative pronouncement on the issue.
The petition, filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, said that in order to avoid multiplicity of litigations and conflicting views, the transfer plea has been moved before the apex court.