National Commission for Backward Classes
(A Statutory Body under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment)
Pursuant to the direction of the Supreme Court in the Mandal case judgment, the Government of India enacted the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 for setting up a National Commission for Backward Classes at the Centre as a permanent body. Article 340 of the Constitution provides for the appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of and the difficulties faced by the socially and educationally backward classes and to make appropriate recommendations.
The Act came into effect on the 2nd April, 1993. The Act provides that the Commission shall consist of five Members, comprising of a Chairperson who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court; a social scientist; two persons, who have special knowledge in matters relating to backward classes; and a Member-Secretary, who is or has been an officer of the Central Government in the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India.
Functions of the Commission under the Act
The Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the Central List of Backward Classes and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in the lists and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate. Under Section 9(2) of the Act, "The advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government".
Under Section 11 (1) of the Act, the Central Government may at any time, and shall, at the expiration of ten years from the coming into force of this Act and every succeeding period of ten years thereafter, undertake revision of the lists with a view to excluding from such lists those classes who have ceased to be backward classes or for including in such lists new backward classes.
The Commission, after studying the criteria/ indicators framed by the Mandal Commission and the commissions set up in the past by different state Governments and other relevant materials, formulated the following guidelines for considering requests for inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes:
1. Castes and communities generally considered as socially backward.
2. (a) Castes and communities, which mainly depend on agricultural and/or other manual labour for their livelihood and are lacking any significant resource base.
b) Castes and communities, which, for their livelihood, mainly depend on agricultural and/or other manual labour for wage and are lacking any significant base.
c) Castes and communities, the women of which, as a general practice, earn their family's livelihood, engaged in agricultural and/or other manual labour, for wage.
d) Castes and communities, the children of which, as a general practice, are, for family's livelihood or for supplementing family's low income, mainly engaged in agricultural and/ or manual labour.
e) Castes and communities, which in terms of caste system, are identified with traditional crafts or traditional or hereditary occupations considered to be lowly or undignified.
f) Castes and communities, which in terms of the caste system, are identified with tradtional or hereditary occupations considered to be 'unclean' or stigmatized.
g) Nomadic and semi-nomadic castes and communities.
h) Denotified or Vimukta Jati castes and communities
3. Castes and communities, having no representation or poor representation in the State Legislative Assembly and/or district-level Panchayati Raj institutions during the ten years preceding the date of the application
Justice V. Eswaraiah is the Chairperson currently.
Article 16 provides for Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
Article 16 provides for Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
Under Article 338(5) of the Constitution, the following are the powers of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes:
It shall be duty of the Commission –
By clause (10) of the same Article, “Backward Classes” are included within the expression “Scheduled Castes”. Clause (10) of Article 338 reads as follows:
“(10) In this article references to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be construed as including references to such other backward classes as the President may, on receipt of the report of a Commission appointed under clause (1) of Article 340, by order specify and also to the Anglo-Indian community”.
Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
Article 350B of the Constitution provides for the appointment by President of a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. This Officer is known as National
Commissioner Lingusitic Minorities.
It is his duty to investigate all matters relating to safeguards provided for the linguistic minorities and report to the President at such intervals as may be fixed and to monitor the implementation of safeguards through questionnaires, visits, conferences, seminars, meetings, review mechanism, etc.
Annual reports are being presented to the President through the Minister of Minority Affairs.
They are laid on the table of both Houses of Parliament.
National Commission for Minorities
(An Organization to safeguard the Constitutional and Legal rights of Minorities)
The setting up of Minorities Commission was envisaged in the Ministry of Home Affairs Resolution in 1978, which specifically mentioned that, "despite the safeguards provided 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 promote 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 required 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 schemes enunciated from time to time." The Minorities Commission was accordingly set up to safeguard the interests of minorities whether based on religion or language. The Commission was renamed as National Commission for Minorities and the first Statutory Commission was constituted in 1993. Aggrieved persons belonging to the minority communities may approach the concerned State Minorities Commissions for redressal of their grievances. They may also send their representations, to the National Commission for Minorities, after exhausting all remedies available to them.
Constitution of the National Commission for Minorities
Under Section 3(2) of the NCM Act, the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and 5 members to be nominated by the Central Govt.
1) The Central Government shall constitute a body to be known as the National Commission for Minorities to exercise the powers conferred on, and to perform the functions assigned to it under this Act.
2) The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity; Provided that five Members including the Chairperson shall be from amongst the Minority communities.
Functions of the Commission
The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:
a) To evaluate the progress of the development of Minorities under the Union and States;
b) To monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures;
c) To make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of Minorities by the Central Government or the State
d) To look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities;
e) To cause studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of any discrimination against Minorities and recommend measures for their removal;
f) To conduct studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to socio-economic and educational development of Minorities;
g) To suggest appropriate measures in respect of any Minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments;
h) To make periodical or special reports to the Central Government on any matter pertaining to Minorities and in particular the difficulties confronted by them; and
i) any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
Safeguards: Safeguards are of two types
Art. 29. Protection of interests of minorities:
Art. 30. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
(1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
(1A) In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, referred to in clause (1), the State shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause.
(2) The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
Art. 347. Special provision relating to language spoken by a section of the population of a State:
On a demand being made in that behalf the President may, if he is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of a State desire the use of any language spoken by them to be recognized by that State, direct that such language shall also be officially recognized throughout that State or any part thereof for such purpose as he may specify.
Art. 350. Language to be used in representations for redress of grievances:
Every person shall be entitled to submit a representation for the redressal of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a State in any of the languages used in the Union or in the State, as the case may be
Art. 350. Facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage
It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities.
These have been agreed to by the Central and the State Governments through series of meetings of Chief Ministers of all the states.
Combined Scheme of Safeguards:
The salient features of the Scheme, as at present, are :
1. Translation and publication of important rules, regulations, notices, etc., into all languages, which are spoken by at least 15% of the total population at district or sub-district level;
2. Declaration of minority languages as second official language in districts where persons speaking such languages constitute 60% or more of the population;
3. Receipt of, and reply to, representations in minority languages; scheme of safeguards
4. Instruction through mother tongues/ minority languages at the Primary stage of education;
5. Instruction through minority languages at the Secondary stage of education;
6. Advance registration of linguistic preference of linguistic minority pupils, and inter-school adjustments;
7. Provision for text books and teachers in minority languages; scheme of safeguards
8. Implementation of Three-language Formula;
9. No insistence upon knowledge of State’s Official Language at the time of recruitment. Test of proficiency in the State’s Official Language to be held before completion of probation
10. Issue of Pamphlets in minority languages detailing safeguards available to linguistic minorities;
11. Setting up of proper machinery at the State and district levels.
1. State Government replies to questionnaire sent by the Commissioner.
2. Information received from other organizations.
3. Information gathered during visits to States.
4. Reports published by various Government, and non Governmental organizations.
5. Books and articles published by scholars.
The current Chairperson is Naseem Ahmad.
National Commission for Women
The Commission shall consist of:
The member Secretary should be either
The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:
a) Investigate and examine all the matters relating to the safeguards provided for the women under the Constitution and other laws;
f) Look into complaints and take suo-moto notice of the matters relating to:
g) Call for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations arising out of the discrimination and atrocities against the women and identify the constraints so as to recommend strategies for their removal;
h) Undertake the promotional and educational research so as to suggest ways of ensuring due representation of the women in all spheres and identify factors responsible for impeding the support services and technologies for reducing drudgery and occupational health hazards and for increasing their productivity;
i) Evaluate the progress of the development of women under the Union and any State;
j) Inspect or cause to inspect a jail, remand home, women's institution or other places of custody where the women are kept as prisoners or otherwise and take up with the concerned authorities for remedial action, if found necessary;
k) Fund litigations involving the issues affecting a large body of the women;
l) Make periodical reports to the Government on any matter pertaining to the women and in particular various difficulties under which women toil;
m) Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA). The NHRC is the national human rights institution, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as "rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants".
"Human Rights" means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the constitution or embodied in the International covenants and enforceable by courts in India. "Commission" means the National Human Rights Commission constituted under section of All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights known as Human rights, as commonly understood, are the rights that every human being is entitled to enjoy freely irrespective of his religion, race, caste, sex and nationality, etc. (Jagdish chand, 2007) In Declaration of Independence acknowledged the fundamental human rights. Human right means different thing to different people. Human Rights are not static. New rights are recognized and enforced from time to time. Only persons fully conversant with the latest development about the expanding horizons of Human Rights can promote their awareness better than others.
The international human rights movement was strengthened when the United Nations General Assembly adopted of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. Drafted as ‘a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations', the Declaration for the first time in human history, outlined basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all human beings should enjoy.
The UDHR, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights.
TPHRA mandates the NHRC to perform the following functions:
The NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) consists of:
The current (acting) chairperson of the NHRC is Justice Cyriac Joseph
STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
A State Government may constitute a body known as the Human Rights Commission of that State to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to, a State Commission. At present, 23 states have constituted SHRC.