The Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) under Government of India has set up a commission to protect the rights of the minorities. The idea was first envisioned in 1978.
Later, the Commission got separated from MHA and was merged into Ministry of Welfare in 1984. It was a non-statutory body until 1992.
The first National Commission for Minorities was set up on 17th May 1993. Currently, the commission works under the Ministry of Minorities.
According to a resolution passed in 1988 by the Ministry of Welfare, linguistic minorities don not fall under its jurisdiction.
COMMUNITIES GOVERNED UNDER NCM
There are six religious communities recognized as minority community in India:
Muslims – 14.2% with 17.22 crores citizens
Christians – 2.3% with 2.78 crores citizens
Sikhs – 1.7% with 2.08 crores citizens
Buddhists – 0.7 % with 8.4 million citizens
Parsis/Zoroastrians – around 57000 citizens
Jains – 0.45 with 4.5 million citizens
These above-mentioned data is as per Census 2011. Parsis were not counted in this census. The minority communities together hold 19.30 percent of the total population of the country. Out of these, Muslims is the largest one. Jain community was included on 27th June 2014.
The functions performed by the National Minorities Commission are the following:
To evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under both central and state governments.
To monitor the working of the constitutional laws passed for welfare of the minorities, both by central and state governments.
To make recommendations for the enactment of protective safeguards for the minorities.
To look into specific complaints about the denial of rights and safeguards for the protection of the interests of the minorities and take forward such matters to the appropriate authorities.
To suggest apt measures in respect of any section of the minorities to be undertaken by the central or state governments.
To make bulletin or special reports to the central government on any matter pertaining to the minorities and in particular difficulties confronted by them.
To cause studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of the discrimination against the minorities, and propose measures for their removal.
To conduct studies, research and analysis for socio-economic and educational development of the minorities.
Any other matter which may be referred to it by the central government.
POWERS OF THE NCM WHEN ACT AS CIVIL COURT:
Summoning and coercing the attendance of any person from any part of India and probing him on oath.
Calling for production of any document.
Receiving evidence on affidavit.
Summonsing any public record or copy thereof from any court or office
Issuing commissions for the inspection of witnesses and documents
Any other matter which may be commended.
The President appoints six members to NCM, they are as follows:
The members of the National Commission for Minorities are nominated from among persons of renown, integrity and ability.
All the members of the commission enjoy the office tenure for three years from date of assumption of the office.
The first five commissions were non-statutory body.
The first Minorities Commission members were – Justice Mohammad Sardar Ali Khan (Chairperson), Shri B.S. Ramoowalia (Vice man)
Current Members are: Ghayorul Hasan (Chairperson), Atif Rasheed (Vice-Chairperson), Sunil Singhi, Sulekha Kumbhare, Vada Dasturji Jhurshed Kaiobad Dastoor, Manjit Singh Rai (Members).