LAWS FOR MINORITIES IN INDIA
In India, minorities are consistently disregarded, although there are now several policies in place to improve their situation. To safeguard minorities, the government has created several programs and legislation. Minority, which means “small in number,” is derived from the Latin word “minor,” which is combined with the suffix “ity.” Minorities experienced a variety of issues, including issues with receiving protection, issues with racial tensions and riots, issues with a lack of representation in the political and civil services, and issues with separatists.
Failure to adhere to secularism in relation to the creation of a single civil code is another issue. In India, minority rights guard against discrimination based on a person’s ethnicity, culture, language, or religion. Minority members must be able to use their own names, study and utilize their native tongues, and openly express their identity. Therefore, minority rights guarantee non-discrimination, protection from violence based on identity, equality before the law, participation in political and public life, and opportunities for cross-border and intrastate collaboration with other communities and organizations. The fundamental component of human rights is the right of minorities. They encourage respect for variety and tolerance. In India, the majority consists of Hindus, their population includes more than 80% of India’s population. The minority population consists of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Jains. Following are some of the articles of the Constitution relating to the protection of minority rights:
Article 14 of the Constitution talks about equality before the law for all the citizens of India without any discrimination. It means all the citizens of India regardless of their religion, caste, creed, race, and colour will be treated equally before the law. This ensures that minorities also have equal representation before the law.
There are two articles under cultural educational rights in the Indian Constitution- Article 29 and Article 30. Article 29 of the Constitution states the protection of interests for minorities. Its clause (1) states that any group living within the jurisdiction of India is entitled to preserve and promote its own language, script or literature, and culture. Clause (2) of it prohibits denial of admission to educational institutions which are aided by the state on the ground of race, caste, and religion or language protection.
Article 30(1) gives a provision to the minority communities to establish and administer an educational institute of their choice for the protection of their culture and heritage. According to Article 30(2), the government should not discriminate against any educational institution run by any minority group regardless of religion, or language, while giving aid.
Other than these there are various commissions for safeguarding minorities:
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MINORITIES
The National Commission for Minorities has been established as a statutory body under the National Commission for Minorities Act, of 1992. As per Section 9(1) of the Act, the Commission is required to perform functions that include monitoring of the working of the safeguards for minorities provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures; making recommendations for effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments, looking into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities and taking up such matters with the appropriate authorities, etc.
NATIONAL AND STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONS
The NHRC, India is a statutory body constituted under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, and is mandated, to enquire suo-motu or on a petition presented to it regarding violations of human rights, review the safeguards provided under the Constitution and domestic laws, study international human rights treaties, promote research in the field of human rights, spread human rights literacy among various sections of society, and synergise the efforts of NGOs and institutions working in the field of human rights. It also has the authority to grant interim relief, recommended payment of compensation or damages and the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or disciplinary action against errant public officials.
- “MINORITY RIGHTS” (Aishwarya Sandeep, October 10, 2021) https://aishwaryasandeep.com/2021/10/11/minority-rights/
- ‘Minority Protection and India – UPSC Notes (GS I) on the Minority Issue in India’ (BYJUS27 August 2019) <https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/minority-protection-and-india-upsc-notes/> accessed 13 May 2023.
- ‘Minority Rights in the Constitution of India – IPleaders’ (iPleaders25 January 2021) <https://blog.ipleaders.in/minority-rights-constitution-india/?amp=1> accessed 13 May 2023.
Authored by Ishani Shome, Legal Intern, LawDiktat
Edited by Sahid, Team Member, LawDiktat