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BACKWARD CLASSES COMMISSION

(i) What are Backward Classes is not defined in the Constitution.
(ii) Article 340, however, empowers the President to appoint a commission to investigate conditions of socially and educationally backward classes.
(iii) On the basis of the report of the Commission the President may specify who are to be considered backward Classes.
(iv) The court can consider whether the classification made by the government is arbitrary or is based on any intelligible and tangible principle.
The “backward classes” means such backward classes of citizens other than the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as may be specified by the Central government in the lists.

Composition of Commission

The Commission shall consists of the following Members nominated by the Central Government;-
(a) A Chairperson, who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court:
(b) A social scientists;
(c) Two persons, who have special knowledge in matters relating to backward classes and
(d) A Member-Secretary, who is or has been an office of the Central government in the rank of a secretary to the Government of India.

Tenure and Removal 
(1) Every members shall hold office for a term of three years from the date he assumes office.
(2) A Member may be writing under his hand addressed to the Central government, resign from the office of Chairperson or, as the case may be, of members at any time.
(3) The Central Government can remove a person from the office of Member.

Functions and Powers
(1) The Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as membership of a backward class and hear complaints of over-inclusion or any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate.
(2) the advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government.
(3) The Commission shall, while performing, its function, have all the powers of a civil court.

MINORITY COMMISSION
The word ‘Minority’ is not defined in the Constitution; It must be held that any community, religious or linguistic, which is numerically less than 50 per cent of the population of a state is entitled to the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 30 as minority.
Composition : The Commission shall consists 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.

Tenure and Removal
(a) The Chairperson and every members shall hold office for a term of three years from the date he assumes office.
(b) The  Chairperson or a Member may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Central government, resign from the office of Chairperson or as the case may be, of the member at any time.

Functions of the Commission 

The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely;
(a) Evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States.
(b) Monitor the working of the safeguards provides in the constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures;
(c) Make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguard for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central government or the State government;
(d) Look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities;
(e) Case studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of any discrimination against minorities and recommend measure for their removal;
(f) Conduct studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to socio-economic and educational development of minorities;
(g) Suggest appropriate measure in respect of any minority to be undertaken by central government on any matter pertaining to minorities and in particular difficulties confronted by them; and
(i) Other matter, which may be referred to it by Central Government of India.
 

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN
The National Commission for women plays an important role in the empowerment of women.

Composition : The Commission shall consist of -
(a) A Chairperson, committed to the cause of women to be nominated by the Central Government;
(b) Five members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of ability, integrity and standing who have had experienced in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry or organization committed to increasing the employment potential of women, women voluntary organization (including women activists), administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare, provided that at least one Members each shall be from amongst person belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.
(c) a Member-Secretary to be nominated by the Central government, who shall be (i) Either an expert in the field of management, organizational structure or sociological moment, or (ii) an officer who is a member of civil service of the Union or of all-India service or holds a civil post under the Union with appropriate experience.

Tenure and Removal

(1) The Chairperson and every member shall hold office for a period exceeding three years, the terms and conditions of which may be specified by the Central Government in this behalf.
(2) The Chairperson or a member (other than the Member-Secretary who is a member of civil service of the Union or of an all India service or holds a civil post under the Union) may, by writing and addressed to the Central government, resign from the office of Chairperson or, as the case may be, of the members at any time.
(3) The Central Governmental shall remove a person from the office of chairperson or a Member.

Functions and Powers 

The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely;
(a) Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguard provided for women under the Constitution and other laws;
(b) present to the Central Government, annually and at such other times as the commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
(c) Make in such reports, recommendation for the effective implementation of those safeguard for improving the conditions of women by the Union or any State;
(d) Review, from time to time, the existing provision of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments there to so as to suggest remedical legislative measures to meet any lacuna, inadequacies or shortcomings in such legislation,
(e) Take up the case of violation of the provisions for the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities.

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after 10 year of its existence has failed to intervene in single case anywhere in the court. The Section 12(b) of the Protection of Human Rights Act explicitly empowers the NHRC to “intervenes in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the approval of such court”. On this basis, the NHRC has intervened in the Best Bakery Case and Vadodara case.
The Best Bakery Case opened with the surfacing of the main-witness-who-turned-hostile Zaheera sheikh. In the Best Bakery case all the 21 accused were acquitted and blamed that they were threatened and therefore, they became hostile.

NHRC and Child Labour :
The NHRC has requested the Government to clearly define the term “hazardous”. In the absence of any clear-cut definition, it has often been misinterpreted. Article 24 provides that “no child below the age of 14 year shall be employed in works in any factory or mine or engaged in any hazardous employment.” The NHRC feels that with reference to what is hazardous for the child, and not merely in relation to certain process to occupations, which at present was the approach adopted in the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1976.
The NHRC views that the provisions related to child labour must be seen in the light of UNHR Treaties and Convention on the Rights of the Child labour must be radically rethought and rewritten.

NHRC and SC 
The Supreme Court had permitted the NHRC to probe the communal violence in Gujarat.
In Paramit Kaur V State of Punjab the Supreme Court has held that, by its directions or orders it can confer jurisdiction on any body or statutory authority to act beyond its authority to the statutory jurisdiction or power. Thus, the Supreme Court asked the National Human Rights Commission comprising of a former Chief Justice of India as the Chairman and two justices of High courts as members to examine the alleged violation of human rights by police Officials of Punjab.

Status of Complaints 
The commission while enquiring into the complaints of violations of human rights may : (i) Call for information or report from the Central government or any state Government or any other authority or organization subordinate thereto within such time as may be specified by it, provided that: If the information or report is not received within the time stipulated by the Commission it may proceed to inquiry into the complaint on its own: If, on receipt of information or report, the Commission is satisfied either that no further inquiry is required or that the required action has been initiated or taken by the concerned Government or authority, it may not proceed with the complaint and inform the complaint accordingly; Without prejudice to anything contained in clause (i) if it considers necessary, having regard to the nature of the complaint, initiate an inquiry.

Steps After the inquiry 
The Commission may take any of the following steps upon the completion of an enquiry under this act.
Where the inquiry discloses, the commission of violation of human rights, it may recommend to the concerned Government or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or such other action as the Commission may deem fit against the concerned person or persons; Approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such direction, orders or writs as the court may deem necessary; Recommend to the concerned Government or authority for the grant of such immediate interim relief to the victim or the members of his family, as the Commission may consider necessary; Provide a copy of the inquiry report to the petitioner or his representative.

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FAQs on Commissions and Councils- 1 - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is a commission and council?
Ans. A commission is a group of people appointed to carry out a particular task or function, while a council is a group of individuals who are elected or appointed to make decisions or provide advice on a specific topic or issue.
2. What is the purpose of commissions and councils?
Ans. The purpose of commissions and councils is to provide expertise and guidance on specific areas of importance. They help in decision-making, policy development, and implementation of various initiatives related to the specific topic or issue they are assigned to.
3. How are members of commissions and councils selected?
Ans. The selection process for members of commissions and councils varies. Some members may be appointed by government officials or elected by the public, while others may be nominated by organizations or experts in the field. The selection criteria often include qualifications, experience, and expertise related to the specific topic.
4. What are some examples of commissions and councils?
Ans. Examples of commissions and councils include the United Nations Human Rights Council, National Commission for Women, National Council on Disability, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the European Commission. These are just a few examples, and there are numerous commissions and councils at various levels of government and international organizations.
5. How do commissions and councils contribute to society?
Ans. Commissions and councils contribute to society by providing specialized knowledge, recommendations, and solutions to address specific challenges or issues. They play a crucial role in policy-making, promoting inclusivity, protecting human rights, ensuring accountability, and fostering collaboration between various stakeholders. Their work helps in shaping laws, regulations, and initiatives that aim to improve the well-being and development of society as a whole.
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