The Union Government establish the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Five religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities by the Union Government. Further, vide notification detail 27th Jan 2014, Jains have also been notified as a minority community.
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal have also established State Minorities Commissions in their respective States. Their offices are located in the State capitals. The functions of these Commissions, inter-alia, are to safeguard and protect the interests of minorities give in the Constitution and laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures.
Aggrieved persons belonging to the minority communities may approach the related to State Minorities Commissions for redressal of their grievances. They may also provide their representations, to the National Commission for Minorities, after finishing all remedies available to them.
The establishing of Minorities Commission was envisaged in the Ministry of Home Affairs Resolution dated 12.01.1978 which specifically mentioned that “despite the safeguards given in the Constitution and the laws in force, there persists among the Minorities a feeling of inequality and discrimination. In order to preserve secular traditions and to encourage National Integration the Government of India attaches the highest importance to the enforcement of the safeguards provided for the Minorities and is of the firm view that effective institutional arrangements are urgently needed for the enforcement and implementation of all the safeguards provided for the Minorities in the Constitution, in the Central and State Laws and in the government policies and administrative project enunciated from time to time. Sometime in 1984 the Minorities Commission was detached from Ministry of Home Affairs and placed under the newly formed Ministry of Welfare.
Functions of NCM
As per Section 9(1) of the NCM At, 1992, the Commission is needed to perform the following functions:-
(a) survey of the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States;
(b) monitoring of the working of the safeguards for minorities given in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures;
(c) creating of recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments;
(d) looking into specific complaints concerning deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities and taking up such matters with the appropriate authorities;
(e) getting studies to be undertaken into the problems arising out of any discrimination against minorities and recommending steps for their removal;
(f) conducting studies, research, and analysis on the matter concerning to socio-economic and educational development of minorities;
(g) suggesting proper steps in respect of any minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments;
(h) making periodical or special reports to the Central Government or any issues pertaining to minorities and in particular, the difficulties confronted by them; and
(i) any other issues, which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
Section 2 (c) of NCM Act, 1992 stipulates that ‘Minority’ for the reason of the Act, means a community notified as such by the Central Government. Therefore, all the functions of the Commission as laid down in Section 9(1) of the Act are concerned to the six notified communities.