Who declares religious or linguistic minorities?-POLITY(30th March) - Sleepy Classes IAS Skip to main content

Who declares religious or linguistic minorities?-POLITY(30th March)


Who declares religious or linguistic minorities?

What is the news?

  • Central government has told the Supreme Court (SC) that certain States, where Hindus or other communities are less in number, can declare them as minorities within their own territories, to enable them to set up and administer their own educational institutions.
  • Centre’s response is with regard to a plea seeking minority status for Hindus in states ( Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh etc.) in accordance with the principle laid down by the SC in its TMA Pai ruling (2002).
  • In the TMA Pai case, the SC had said that for the purposes of Article 30, religious and linguistic minorities have to be considered state-wise.

About Minorities

  • Though not defined in the constitution, expression “minorities” appears in Article 29, 30 and 350 (A)


  • Article 29– Protection of interests of minorities
    • Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same
    • No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
  • Article 30 – Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
  • Article 350(A) says there shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President whose is to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities.

How are minorities defined?

  • The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 (NCM) defines a minority as “a community notified as such by the Central government.”


  • Under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 (NCM), the Centre had in 1993 notified five communities ‘ Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians’ as minorities.Jains were added to the list in 2014.
  • About NCM –  Initially set up in 1978 by a resolution of ministry of home affairs, but got a statutory status under NCM Act, 1992. Objective of the body is to evaluation of the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States. It consists of a Chairperson, a Vice- Chairperson and Five Members, tenure – 3 years.