Reports

Status of Minority Commissions

01 February 2014 Share: facebook share twitter share
Theme: Statutory Commission Reports

This study reviews the status of the constitution, composition and functioning of State Commissions for Minorities, providing a set of recommendations in order to make the Minority Commissions more vibrant, responsive and accountable. This was a part of a larger study on the functioning of Statutory Commissions mandated for the socially excluded groups (Commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities) initiated by PACS and carried out by Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA).

The setting up of the Minorities Commission was envisaged in the Ministry of Home Affairs Resolution dated 12 January 1978. It specifically mentioned that, despite the safeguards provided in the Constitution and the laws in force, there persisted among religious minorities a feeling of inequality and discrimination. In 1984 the Minorities Commission was detached from the Ministry of Home Affairs and placed under the newly-created Ministry of Welfare. Under the National Commission for Minorities Act (1992) the Minorities Commission became a statutory body and was renamed as the National Commission for Minorities (NCM). Following the constitution of the NCM at union level, states also set up State Minorities Commissions.

This report analyses the functioning and impacts of State Minorities Commissions based on empirical studies and consultations carried out in states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. It describes the nature of the mandates of Minorities Commissions, the experiences of people (especially Muslims) in rural and urban areas with respect to the functioning of these Commissions, identifies factors that have influenced their performance and makes suggestions for making the State Minority Commissions more vibrant, responsive and accountable to their mandates across the country.

This study was part of a larger study of five different Statutory Commissions for socially excluded groups (Commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities).

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