The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992

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The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 was passed in the year 1992 by notification of Central Government in the Official Gazette. As Union Government notified six religious communities Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (parsis) and Jains and named them as minority communities. By notification of minority communities, there exists a need for set up of commission, to look after matters related to minority communities, Union Government setup the Commission called National Commission for Minorities under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. National Commission for Minorities which constituted to look for the matters related to minority communities attached to the UN Declaration of 18 December 1992. United Nations promulgated the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities to strengthen the cause of the minorities. UN Declaration of 18 December 1992 which states that it been the duty of States to protect the existence of their National, Religious, Cultural and Linguistic identity of minorities within their territories and it lays down another duty to encourage conditions for promotion of their identity of minorities. The National Commission for Minorities which constituted under the Act has the same goals attached to the UN Declaration, 1992 and has objective to fulfill the goals set out and observes every year on 18th December as Minorities Rights Day

National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 comprised of 16 Sections in brief and extends to whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The term minority defined in Section 2(c) of the Act means the community notified by the Central Government. Chapter II of the Act describes the term National Commission for Minorities its procedure and members of Commission. The Central Government constitutes a body as the National Commission for Minorities under the Act to exercise the powers conferred on and to perform functions assigned to under Section 3 of the Act. The Commission consists of members compiled of chairperson, a vice-chairperson and five members and members deemed to be public servants as held within meaning of Section 21 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. Members of commission will be nominated by the Central Government who are the persons included in the minority communities, members holds office of the commission for a term of three years and they can resign office at anytime by writing it to the Central Government and Central Government has the authority to remove a person/member from the office of the commission as laid in provisions specified under Section 4(3).

Commission been a seven member committee headed by a person called the chairperson, chairperson as the headperson has the authority to specify time and place to held meeting among the commission to regulate its own procedure, and all the orders and the decisions of the commission authenticated by the secretary or any other officer of the commission who been authorized by the secretary. The commission which constituted under Act with his members has wide functions to perform as specified in Section 9 of Act and have all powers like a Civil Court in trying a suit and matters connect with.

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Central Government has wide powers under Act with respect to make rules and remove difficulties as provided in Section 15 and 16 of the Act and it has authority to check the status of the annual statement of accounts of the commission under Section 11(1) and annual report prepared under Section12.

Over all Act and commission enacted under the Act although has its advantages of giving social, economic, educational status to minorities, it has other disadvantages and improvements which need to be made by the commission in implementing the Act. The main stream of improvements which has to be made by the commission in implementation of Act is need of transparency in monitoring system as every person belongs to minorities and other citizens needs to know the actual state of implementation, its goal and objectives of commission. National Data Bank should be created under commission where all the relevant data for socio-religious matters to be maintained which in turn enhances the legal basis for providing equal opportunities in the commission to look in to the grievances of minorities as described in the Act.

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by Priyadarshini Chandrasekar