Saturday, December 20, 2008

Govt decides to move official amendment to define minority

New Delhi, Dec 19 (PTI)
Government today decided to move an official amendment to the Constitution to define minority, a step which could enable it designate the Jains as a minority community.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, today approved a proposal to introduce the Constitution 103rd Amendment Bill to define minority, Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

The legislation came in the backdrop of several Supreme Court directives to the government to decide on the issue.

"This Bill is about the power to define a minority. The Supreme Court directed the Centre to decide the issue of giving minority status to Jains. A number of orders have been passed by the Supreme Court in this behalf," he said.

The Bill was introduced earlier and referred to the Standing Committee. After considering its recommendations, it was decided to move official amendments. However, the notice for amendments issued to Lok Sabha secretariat lapsed.

"Further issues were raised in the meantime. These have now been resolved and action will be taken to move the official amendments to the pending Constitution amendment bill," Chidambaram said.

Under the proposed amendment, minority means a community which may be specified by the President or notified by the Central government, the Minister said.

The Cabinet also decided to pursue its earlier decision to accord Scheduled Tribe status to the children of the inhabitants of Lakshadweep, who were born in any other place in India. So far, the children of such people who had moved to other parts of the country were denied ST status. PTI

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