SP MITTAL VS UNION OF INDIA, 1983

DEFINITION OF MINORITY 
Linguistic and religious minorities are described in Article 30 of the Constitution. However, while it specifies minority community groups, the government does not have an official definition of the term.
The many provisions of our Constitution, as well as official reports, can provide some guidance. Anyone having “a separate language, writing, or culture of its own” has the right to maintain it, according to Article 29(1), which protects minority populations’ rights.

We may deduce from the text’s wording that minority populations are those with a unique language, script, or culture. Later decisions, such as Bal Patil v. Union of India and the Islamic Academy of Education v. State of Karnataka, show that courts use additional considerations, such as economic benefit, to determine whether a group is a minority or not.

In terms of religious minority communities, Section 2(c) of the Minorities Act acknowledges Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians as minority communities (NCMA).

SP MITTAL VS UNION OF INDIA, 1983

FACTS

Sri Aurobindo was a brilliant scholar and administrator who was also active in politics. Later, he gave it all up and relocated to Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, to pursue a life of meditation. It was there that he met Madam M. Alfassa, popularly known as Mother, who would eventually become his student. Later, his students and Mother founded The Sri Aurobindo Society to spread and practise Sri Aurobindo’s ideas and values.

The Mother, the society’s founding president, established Auroville, a township where people might gather and engage in various activities. Later on, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to provide provisions to aid in Auroville’s growth. When the mother died, a slew of issues arose, including project mismanagement and abuse of finances, making it difficult for the townships to function and develop. Keeping in mind Auroville’s worldwide status as a result of the UNESCO accord, the Tamil Nadu government assumed control of the project and submitted a presidential order that subsequently became the Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1980.

The Constitutional legality of the Act was challenged on four grounds because the government seized control of a “religious” activity. One of the arguments was that it was in violation of Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

ISSUES RAISED

Does the Act violate Article 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution.

DECISION BY THE SUPREME COURT

The bench ruled that the aforementioned Act does not contradict Articles 29 and 30. The court ruled that it did not infringe on their right to preserve their own language, script, or culture in any manner, and so did not violate Article 29.

In this situation, too, one must show that they are a linguistic or religious minority and that the organisation in issue was founded by them in order to claim protection under Article 30. They could not seek protection under these articles since Auroville was not religious and was built on Sri Aurobindo’s ideas.

 

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