It is not possible to accord separate religion status for Lingayats: SC advocate
- There is no provision in the law to declare Lingayat as a separate religion
- There were several judgements declaring Jain as a separate religion even before 1927
- Whatever the result, the mere demanding itself is absurd.
- Giving opportunity for internal disputes to grow leads to demand for separate religion.
There were several judgements declaring Jain as a separate religion even before 1927. Hence it was accorded a minority status. However, there is no provision in the law to declare Lingayat as a separate religion, reports Kannada Prabha quoting Supreme Court advocate KV Dhananjaya.
Speaking to Kannada Prabha, Dhananjaya said there is no provision to recognise a new religion not existing before independence. Even before independence, Jain and Buddhist religions had problem about their status. Islam, Christianity, Parsi and Sikh religions had established their status. With regard to Jain there were many judgements that could prove their status as an existing old religion, he said.
There was no provision to recognise religions that already existed but had minority population as minority religion. It was for this reason that the National Minority Commission Act 1992 was formulated. Under this Act, religions that are already in existence can be declared a status of minority religion. However, under the Constitution, Lingayat cannot be declared a separate religion. If it was not recognised as an independent religion prior to independence, then it is not possible to declare it now. This is in a nutshell basic point of Constitution. Whatever the result, the mere demanding itself is absurd, he argued, reports Kannada Prabha.
Several Christian education institutions were not accorded minority status. Under the Minority Act they could claim several benefits. However, Lingayat is a part of Hindu religion and wants to branch out. Since Hinduism provides provision for intellectual debates more than any other religion, such internal disputes do arise. Giving opportunity for internal disputes to grow leads to demand for separate religion. The demand could also be political, he said.