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PIL against scholarships for religious minorities

PIL against scholarships for religious minorities

Author: PTI
Publication: The Hindu
Date: February 15, 2009
URL: http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200902151876.htm

A PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court against a scholarship scheme for religious minorities. The scheme, launched by Union Ministry of Minority Affairs last year, provides for 20,000 scholarships on merit and income basis for students from Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Parsi communities.

Petitioner Sanjeev Punalekar, a city-based advocate, has taken exception to it saying that "it excludes Hindus and Jains, who constitute eighty per cent of the population". Such "discrimination" on the basis of religion is against the constitutional principle of equality, the petition said.

Further, it violates Hindus' and Jains' freedom to practice their respective religions, as the sops to other religionists "makes them (Hindus and Jains) more vulnerable to the allurement" and leads to conversions, the PIL alleges.

Last week, a Division Bench of Justices J N Patel and V K Tahilramani posted the petition after four weeks for hearing, asking the Centre to file its reply.

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