Minorities Commission to seek Constitutional Status

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has decided to approach the government for granting it Constitutional status to protect the rights of minority communities more effectively.

In its present form, the NCM has powers to summon officials, including chief secretaries and director generals of police, but has to rely on departments concerned to take action against them. If granted constitutional status, the NCM will be able to act against errant officials who do not attend hearings, follow its order or are found guilty of dereliction of duty. Also, the NCM can penalise or suspend an officer for two days or send him/her to jail.

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2017-18), in its 53rd report, had also noted that the NCM is “almost ineffective” in its current state to deal with cases of atrocities against minorities.

The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India. Original notification of 1993 was for Five religious communities Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians and Muslims.

The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity; provided that five Members including the Chairperson shall be from amongst the minority communities.

Aggrieved persons belonging to the minority communities may approach the concerned State Minorities Commissions for redressal of their grievances.  They may also send their representations, to the National Commission for Minorities, after exhausting all remedies available to them.

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