Supreme Courts Directive on Jains Minority Status – Extract

BELOW IS GIVEN AN EXTRACT OF THE COURTS DIRECTIONS GIVEN TO THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA IN CONNECTION WITH THE MINORITY STATUS OF THE JAIN COMMUNITY

Item No. 101

PART – HEAD

Court No. 10

SECTION IX

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

789972

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4730 OF 1999

BAL PATIL & ANR

APPELLANT (S)

VERSUS

U.O.I. & ORS.

RESPONDENT (S)

Date: 29/07/2004

This/These appeal (s)/ Petition (s) was/were called on for hearing today.

CORAM:

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ASHOK BHAN

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE S.H.KAPADIA

For Appellant (s)

Mr. P.P.Rao, Sr. Adv.

Mr. U.U.Lalit, Sr. Adv.

Mr. Prasenjit Keswani, Adv.

Ms. Mahalakshmi P., Adv.

Mr. S.G.Balaji Iyer, Adv.

Mr. Prashanth Kumar, Adv.

Mr. P.Manish, Adv.

For Respondent (s)

Mr. Rajivdutta, Sr. Adv.

Ms. A. Subhashini, Adv.

Mrs. Sushma Suri, Adv.

Mr. S.N.Terdal, Adv.

UPON hearing Counsel the Court Made the following

ORDER

The National Commission for Minorities (for short “the Commission”) constituted under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 (for short “the Act”) made its recommendations on 3-10-1994 to the Government of India to include “Jain Community” in the notification dated 23.10.1993 issued under Section 2(c) of the Act.

Since no action was taken by the Union of India on the recommendations made by the Commission,  appellants filed Writ Petition No. 5009 of 1997 in the High Court of Bombay, seeking a mandamus, directing the Government to include the Jain community in the Notification dated 23.10.1993. The said Writ Petition was disposed of by the High Court on 23.10.1997, observing that:

“Heard. Mr.Chandrachud, the learned counsel for the petitioners make a limited grievance that the minority commission had recommended the status of  minority to Jain community. According to him the decision is to be taken by the government in its cabinet meeting. He further stated that the matter is pending since long.

In view of this we direct the Central Government to take the decision in the matter expeditiously and as early as possible having regard to the significance of the question involved. With this direction, the petition is disposed of.”

In spite of the directions given by the High Court, no decision was taken by the Central Government.

Aggrieved by such inaction on the part of the Government the appellants again filed Writ Petition No. 4066 of 1998 in the High Court of Judicature at Bombay.

The Union of India in its counter-affidavit took the stand that the point raised in the writ petition was pending for consideration in the Supreme Court in T.M.A.Pai Foundation & Ors. V State of Karnataka & Ors. It was averred that the question could not be adjudicated upon and decided in haste and/or in a time-bound schedule. However, in the light of decision of the apex Court in the matter of T.M.A.Pai Foundation and after considering the protest notes of the Jain Community itself on the matter in issue, as well as the protest notes of the Members of Parliament, a conscientious decision would be taken in relation to the matter in issue on its own merits and in accordance with law. That the government was unable to take a final decision till the T.M.A.Pai Foundation’s case (supra) was decided by this Court. The High Court disposed off the writ petition by the impugned order by observing:

“Having regard to the aforesaid averments contained in the affidavit in reply more particularly the assertion that a conscientious decision will be taken in relation to the issue at hand after the decision of the Apex Court in the matter of TMA Pai Foundation, we do not find that any useful purpose will be served by keeping the present petition pending.

Present petition, in the circumstances is accordingly disposed off.

All the contentions raised in the present petition are kept open.”

T.M.A. Pai Foundations case (supra) was disposed of by the constitution Bench on 31.10.2002 which is reported in 2002 (8) SCC 481. the High Court disposed of that writ petition.

In T.M.A. Pai Foundations case (supra) the point raised in this appeal was neither raised nor decided. A final decision has now to be taken by the Government on the aforesaid recommendations made by the Commission.

Since the recommendations are pending for consideration before the Central Government for the last ten years and a final decision has to be taken, we adjourn this case to enable the Government to take a final decision on the point within four months from today. it is made clear that no further time shall be granted to the Union of India.

To be listed in the second week of December, 2004.

(J.S.Rawat)

Court Master

(Kanwal Singh)

Court Master

Post Author: JHC