Monday, June 26, 2006 PTI
NEW DELHI: The Centre is considering proposals to equip the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) with an investigation mechanism of its own as part of moves to give more teeth to the religious rights watchdog.
Unlike the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has its own investigation mechanism in place, the NCM's powers are restricted to issuing directions to police, state and district authorities to investigate complaints of religious rights violations.
Only four of its reports have been tabled in Parliament — since the NCM came into being in 1978 — because of delays sometimes in investigations recommended by the commission and sometimes in related reports from state and district authorities and other departments and ministries, Minority Affairs Ministry sources said.
They said the government is also planning to empower the NCM with authority to summon individuals accused of acts against religious minorities.
At present, the NCM can summon government and police officials if they do not act on its directions. "But many a time, officials get away with vague response — like 'the matter is under investigation' — to the commission's repeated notices or summons," the sources said.
The commission may be given more powers through a Parliamentary legislation, whose draft is ready, he said.
The proposed legislation is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session.
"The NCM has already submitted its requests to have an investigating mechanism headed by an IG and powers to summon individuals. They are very much under consideration," he said.