• The National Commission for Minorities celebrated World Minorities Rights Day on 18th December 2020.
  • The United Nations on 18th December, 1992 adopted the Statement on the individual’s Rights belonging to religious or Linguistic National or Ethnic Minorities.


Constitutional Provisions Related to Minorities:

    • The term “Minority” is not defined in the Indian Constitution. However, the Constitution recognizes religious and linguistic minorities.
    • Article 29: It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.


  • However, the Supreme Court held that the scope of this article is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as use of the word ‘section of citizens’ in the Article includes minorities as well as the majority.


  • Article 30: All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29).
  • Article 15 (1) & (2) – Prohibition of discrimination against citizens on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth;
  • Article 16(1)&(2) – Citizens’ right to ‘equality of opportunity’ in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State, and prohibition in this regard of any discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth;
  • Article 25(1) – People’s freedom of conscience and right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion – subject to public order, morality and other Fundamental Rights;
  • Article 26 – Right of every religious denomination or any section thereof – subject to public order, morality and health – to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes, manage its own affairs in matters of religion, and own and acquire movable and immovable property and administer it in accordance with law
  • Article 350-B: Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. However, the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 inserted Article 350-B in the Constitution.
  • It provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.


  • Genesis:
    • In 1992, with the enactment of the NCM Act, 1992, NCM was formed.
    • In 1993, the first Statutory National Commission was set up and five religious communities viz the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities.
    • In 2014, Jains were also notified as a minority community.
  • Composition:
    • NCM consists of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and five members and all of them shall be from amongst the minority communities.
    • Total of 7 persons to be nominated by the Central Government should be from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity.
    • Tenure: Each Member holds office for a period of three years from the date of assumption of office.
  • Functions:
    • Evaluation of the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States.
    • Monitoring of the working of the safeguards for minorities provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the state legislatures.
      • Example – National Commission for Minority Education Institution (NCMEI) Act, 2004: It gives the minority status to the educational institutions on the basis of six religious communities notified by the government.
    • It ensures that the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme is implemented and the programmes for minority communities are actually functioning.
    • Looking into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities and taking up such matters with the appropriate authorities.
    • It investigates matters of communal conflict and riots.




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