New Delhi, May 13 (IANS): An Anglo-Indian body on Friday filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to restore the community's representation in Parliament and the State Assemblies by nomination.
In the writ petition, the Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations in India through KMNP Law, challenged the 104th amendment to the Constitution which has taken away the nominated representation of the members of the Anglo-Indian community.
The representation was removed arbitrarily in derogation of the principles of equality as well as the rights enumerated in Article 21, 29, 38, 39A, and the underlying principles in the Preamble of the Constitution of India, the plea argued.
After hearing the matter, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla asked the Centre to file relevant documents and parliamentary committee debates on the issue within six weeks.
The matter will be further heard on November 18.
Adv Kuriakose Varghese, appeared for the petitioner.
Describing the history of the Anglo-Indian community, the plea said the ostracism encountered from the mainstream, the mixed European-Indian parentage, and their spatial distribution across the length and breadth of the country in small pockets, potentially prevented the coalescing of votes; during elections.
Thus, adequate representation was the raison d' etre for the constitutional safeguard enshrined in Constitution. The arbitrary consequence of the Impugned Amendment Act would be the permanent removal of the entire community from effective representational democracy, for the very first time since the formation of the Indian Republic in 1950.
Pertinently, the aforesaid constitutional safeguard prevented their elimination from the political mainstream and also allowed the Anglo-Indian community a voice in the Parliament and the Assemblies, it read.
Unfortunately, it further said, the Impugned Amendment Act unfairly tears asunder this constitutional provision, enshrined in Article 334 (b) of the Constitution of India and has arbitrarily relegated only the Anglo-Indian community to the political doldrums - without any representation in the Parliament or the Assemblies.
Inexplicably, the Constitutional Amendment on the one hand continues with the reservation to the SC and ST communities, but unjustly denies an equal benefit of representation to the similarly situated Anglo-Indian community. The equality clause and the equal protection of the laws have been unreasonably denied to the Anglo-Indian community; apart from the glaring fact that there was no proper study (in any manner whatsoever) that was conducted to identify the backwardness of the Anglo-Indian community, the plea read.