Minorities panel draws its remit

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  1. The National Commission of Minorities(NCM) sub committee in its report has said that it does not have the power to identify any community as minority.
  2. NCM had constituted a sub-committee.The committee was entrusted with the task of preparing a report to provide a) comprehensive definition of minority and b) criteria for determining minority status of a community.
  3. The constitution of the sub-committee came in the backdrop of Supreme Court direction to NCM on defining minority in the context of state-wise population of a community. 
  4. The direction came over a plea seeking minority status for Hindus in 7 states and 1 UT. According to 2011 census,the Hindus are minority in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Punjab.
  5. At present, minority status is granted to Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Jains.
  6. The NCM in its report has said that the role of the commission was not to declare new minority communities but to instead, work and ensure the progress and development of minorities and protect their religious, cultural and educational rights.
  7. The NCM has also said it has no such jurisdiction to declare minorities. The repository of such powers to declare a community as minority lies with the Central government.Section 2(c) of the NCM Act itself clearly states that a community is notified as minority only by the government.
  8. The report has also referred to the 1999 judgment of the Supreme Court in Bal Patil v Union of India which had stated that it is not the function of the NCM to define minorities.
  9. The National Commission for Minorities(NCM) is a statutory body established under the National Commission for Minorities Act,1992.It functions to safeguard the rights and interests of minority communities in India.