NEW DELHI, India—Following the hearing on the petition filed by SGPC and the Punjab government seeking reinstatement of minority status of Sikh students in SGPC run educational institutes, the five member constitutional bench of Supreme Court yesterday asked the Central government of India to assist in judging the population proportion of Sikhs in Punjab. In the notice issued to the central government of India by the Chief Justice Teerath Singh Thakur led constitutional bench, the Supreme Court has sought help in the issue from Attorney General Mukal Rohtagi.
Appearing before the court on behalf of the SGPC and Punjab government, Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi ruled out the High Court’s decision by contending before the Court that every linguistic and religious minority in India possesses the right to promote it’s culture by opening its own educational institutes. He further added that such institutions can’t be forced to follow the equal right principle as they are sponsored by the concerned communities and not by government. Counsel Dwivedi also asked the Supreme Court to consider a vote count of SGPC elections.
It is noteworthy here that according to the census of 2011, the population of Sikhs in Punjab is 57.69 %. Earlier the reservation of seats for Sikh students in SGPC run institutes was quashed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court, referring to the population proportion of Sikhs in Punjab. An 11 member constitutional bench of the High Court had said that it was unfair to reserve seats for Sikh students in SGPC run institutes in Punjab as the Sikhs were already in majority in Punjab.
Now, the answer filed by Central government to Supreme Court will decide future of other minorities residing in India. The bench has asked the union government to clarify whether the Sikhs in Punjab or Christians in Meghalya could be treated as minorities.