Vacancies unfilled, minorities panel has just one member


Written by Esha Roy
| New Delhi |

November 23, 2020 2:11:45 am

This isn’t the primary time that vacancies haven’t been crammed within the NCM — in 2017, all seven posts remained empty for over two months.THE SEVEN-MEMBER National Commission for Minorities (NCM) is all the way down to only one member. While 5 posts have been mendacity vacant since May, the vice-chairperson, Manjit Singh Rai, retired on October 25.
The NCM is remitted to have seven members, together with a chairperson and vice-chairperson, with a member every from the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi and Jain communities.
“There has been some delay in filling the vacancies due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however the course of is underway,’’ mentioned Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. The ministry recommends the names to the Prime Minister’s Office.
This isn’t the primary time that vacancies haven’t been crammed within the NCM — in 2017, all seven posts remained empty for over two months.
The NDA authorities confronted criticism for not filling vacancies within the commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward lessons and minorities. The identical 12 months, the Delhi High Court sought the Centre’s response on a plea towards the federal government’s “inaction” in clearing appointments to the NCM.
“It is true that the Commission, even with all its members, isn’t all the time efficient. But it’s nonetheless a illustration for minorities and an necessary instrumentality of the federal government in a democracy that provides them company, and when the NCM lies vacant, they really feel excluded. The NCM is in control of guaranteeing that the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme is applied and the programmes for minority communities are literally functioning,’’ mentioned Wajahat Habibullah, who was the NCM chairperson in 2011-2014.
“In the previous, the Commission has investigated issues of communal battle and riots. I’ve visited websites of such battle to analyze. The 2011 Bharatpur communal riots have been investigated by the Commission. In 2012, a workforce was despatched to Assam to analyze the Bodo-Muslim clashes, and their findings have been submitted to the federal government. Yet now, there’s clear concentrating on of a specific minority in Uttar Pradesh as an illustration, however the Commission hasn’t mentioned a phrase about it to date, which is surprising,’’ mentioned Habibullah.
“In 2004, the standing committee on social justice and empowerment, headed by Sumitra Mahajan, had made particular suggestions to strengthen the NCM. One of the problems was the inadequate investigative powers that the NCM has… But these suggestions have been by no means applied by the then UPA authorities. Whichever authorities is in energy, the stories tabled by the minority fee in Parliament are by no means actually taken up or debated,’’ mentioned former Vice President Hamid Ansari, who was additionally NCM chairperson.
Section 13 of the NCM Act mandates that the annual report, “along with the memorandum of motion taken on the suggestions contained therein’’, in addition to the explanations for non-acceptance of the suggestions, if any, be tabled earlier than Parliament yearly. Sources mentioned these stories haven’t been tabled in Parliament since 2010.
“Even after I took over in 2006, these stories have been now not being tabled. And I needed to take up the matter with the minorities minister and revive the follow. It isn’t unintentional that the federal government is reluctant to scrutinise,’’ mentioned Ansari, who investigated the Nandigram incident in West Bengal throughout his tenure.
“The Commission is supposed to behave on complaints that it receives. Most of the complaints that we obtain are concerning service issues, the place a person could really feel that he has been terminated or handed over for promotion due to his faith. We additionally get complaints of property disputes,’’ mentioned B Anand, NCM Secretary.
Former NCM members mentioned there was a shift within the type of members appointed to the physique. While previous appointments included former chief justices, civil servants, academicians and so forth, the latest appointees have been largely “social activists” with hyperlinks to the BJP, they mentioned.
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