Bill giving constitutional status to NCM likely to be tabled

The Commission is so far only a recommendatory body. Sources said that Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed has assured the NCM authorities that all efforts will be made "to see that the bill is introduced in the next session of Parliament."

The draft of the bill was submitted by the Commission to the previous UPA government more than two years back when A R Antulay was the Minority Affairs Minister.

The full bench of the seven-member Commission, headed by Md. Shafi Qureshi, raised the issue in its meeting with the minister two days back when Khursheed visited the minority body office for the first time after assuming charge of his new ministry.

"We want the bill to be passed soon by Parliament so that we can redress the grievances of complainants more effectively with the help of additional powers," Qureshi said.

He said the Commission's draft report for the bill had sought constitutional status for the NCM as well as the power of summoning.

The Commission is reported to have cited before the minister examples of National Commission For Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and National Commission of Scheduled Tribes (NCST), which currently enjoy the power of summoning as some judicial powers have already been vested in them through legislation.

The Commission members told the minister that in the absence of adequate power, many of their directives go unheard. They also explained to him the need for giving more teeth to the Commission "for realising UPA government's vision of minority empowerment".

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