Government today indicated it is in no haste to implement the Ranganath Mishra Commission report, which recommended reservation for Muslims and other minorities besides SC status to Muslim and Christian Dalits, saying it is a matter of “great sensitivity”.
“This is a matter of great seriousness but also of great sensitivity. We have to consult widely and this is what we are going to do. The government will take a collective view on the issue,” Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters here when asked if and when the government intends to implement the report.
Asked how serious the government was on the issue, the minister said, “Government is always serious about everything but the point is that every recommendation cannot be accepted and is not accepted.”
“Whatever is found sensible, politically, practically and constitutionally viable and acceptable to people is accepted,” he added.
On the government’s plan to set up an Equal Opportunity Commission, which will prescribe diversity index for industries and government sector for affirmative action, the minister said, “work on it is taking place at an accelerated pace. The Prime Minister has constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) which will start working soon. After this, it will come before the Cabinet and then finally, it will be tabled before Parliament.”
“We want the coordination work (among various political parties) needed for passing the Bill to be completed before it is brought before the cabinet and Parliament,” he said.
Mr. Khurshid said he has suggested to the Law Ministry, before whom the EOC draft is currently for consideration, that the two committees earlier constituted for formation of EOC and prescribing Diversity Index should be merged in one.
Asked about a remark of All India Muslim Personal Law Board that the proposed Prevention of Communal Violence Bill may lead to atrocities on Muslims and weaker sections, Mr. Khurshid said, “passing a judgement even before the Bill has been brought before Parliament is not appropriate.”
He said the Centre thinks that “the Bill, for which there has been demand from all over the country for last five years, should be brought before Parliament as soon as possible.”
“A decision could be taken in Parliament, where representatives of all parties and all regions sit, on whether the Bill should be referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee or be passed,” he added.
The minister said if the Bill is referred to the Standing Committee, “everybody will have an opportunity to express their views on it” adding that he does not consider it is right to pass any judgement before this happens.
Mr. Khurshid also said the government felt the need for the Bill after concerns were expressed that the Central government does not find itself into a position to take a lot of action on its part during communal disturbances in few states due to the different kind of Centre-state relationships.