If a proposal mooted by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) is accepted by the government, matters relating to religious groups -which are minority in a particular state - will come under NCM jurisdiction. The proposed expansion of the NCM mandate will enable it to take up issues concerning Hindus too, where they are in a minority - such as northeastern states .
The NCM Act of 1992 had notified five religious minorities, entrusting the commission with the task of ensuring the progress and development of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis.
In a letter written to minority affairs minister K Rahman Khan, NCM chairperson Wajahat Habibullah recalled that the issue had been discussed in 1997-98, and the ministry had then taken a view that time was not appropriate for a change in jurisdiction of the commission.
"A considerable time has elapsed since then. Further, the commission continues to receive representations from individuals or groups who are otherwise not part of the five notified religious minorities under the Act, but are facing problems relating to minorities in their regions," Habibullah wrote.
The NCM has also taken up the issue of extending the act to J&K, and setting up a minorities commission there.The NCM chairperson said the scope of the Act will be enlarged "to protect all religious groups/individuals that form a minority in a particular area without confining itself to pre-determined religious minorities".