Muslims' minority status in J-K: SC raps state govt over reply
"You are making fun of us," the Supreme Court on Tuesday said, pulling up the Jammu and Kashmir government for reasons put forward by it for not attending meetings convened by the centre to discuss the issue of majority Muslims getting minority benefits in the state.
"This is a disastrous affidavit. The affidavit of the Jammu and Kashmir government is making fun of us," a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices A K Goel and D Y Chandrachud said.
Snubbed, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, said he wanted to withdraw the affidavit which was allowed. "You (state government) are in good hands that is why you are safe. Otherwise...," the bench said while permitting the state government to withdraw the affidavit. The affidavit, filed through Secretary of Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, said the state government was pursuing the matter with utmost seriousness and since the issues involved required deliberation between the highest authorities at the level of the Centre and the state another meeting between the authorities was imminent.
"However, due to various reasons beyond the control of the state authorities, the Central and state governments have unfortunately not been able to convene a second meeting.
"It is submitted with utmost deference to this court that the concerned state officials and the administrative machinery have all been occupied inter-alia due to fragile law and order situation, peculiar security issues, preparation and conduct of the ongoing annual Amarnath Yatra," it said.
The affidavit further said that the issue of dealing with the difficulties of minorities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir requires further deliberation with the Union of India so as to reach at a just, fair and equitable solution. The apex court on Tuesday granted three months time as the last opportunity to the Centre to discuss with the Jammu and Kashmir government and find a solution to a host of issues including whether over 68 per cent Muslims in the state can be regarded as minority and avail benefits under the category.
The court had issued notices to the Centre, the state government and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on the plea filed by Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma, alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims, who were in majority in the state.