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ICC Note:

India’s BJP-led government was ordered by the Delhi High Court last week to explain why it was leaving vacant all the posts at the National Commission for Minorities (NCM). In March, the last of the previous members to the NCM stepped down and have yet to be replaced, leaving the NCM completely vacant. The NCM was originally set up as a government body that would seek the advancement of minorities within India. This includes Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, and Buddhists. With the BJP-led government often being accused of not prioritizing the rights for minorities within India, is the fact that the government has left the NCM empty another sign that they do not care about minorities? 

05/24/2017 India (The Indian Express) – Delhi High Court last week sought the Centre’s response, by August 11, on a plea against government “inaction” on making appointments to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM). Earlier in March, proceedings in Rajya Sabha were washed out after Opposition members protested unfilled vacancies in the commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes and Minorities.

The NCM is supposed to have a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and 7 members, at least 5 of whom should be from minority communities. The communities listed as minorities under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists. Jains were included in the list in 2014.

As of now, all posts at the NCM are vacant. Chairperson Naseem Ahmad retired on March 3, and the last serving member, Dadi E Mistri, completed his 3-year term on March 9. All other members had retired between September 9, 2015 and then, and none of the resulting vacancies had been filled. On the day Mistri retired, PTI quoted Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as saying the process of making fresh appointments “was on”.

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