Are Sikhs a minority in Punjab?

New Delhi: Almost 8 years after Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict held that Sikhs cannot be granted 50 per cent quota in Sikh educational institutions, Supreme Court is seeking answer to “Are Sikhs a minority in Punjab?”

The question arises as the apex court started hearing a petition filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to permanently restore the minority status educational institutions run by it in Punjab.

In 2007, Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict held that Sikhs cannot be granted 50 per cent quota in Sikh educational institutions on the grounds that the community was numerically strong in the state. Moreover, it held that the Punjab government had produced no material to show that Sikhs “apprehended deprivation of their religious, cultural or educational rights in the State of Punjab from any other community.

On Monday, A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, while issuing notice to the Centre, sought the assistance of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and appointed senior advocate TR Andhyarujina as amicus curiae in the matter.

The Punjab government had issued two notifications in 2001 and 2006 granting minority status to SGPC-run educational institutions, including medical and engineering colleges, allowing the committee to reserve up to 50 per cent of the seats exclusively for students from the Sikh community.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, however, quashed both the notifications on December 17, 2007, on a PIL by Nidhhi Parmar.

News24 Bureau