Special Correspondent

New Delhi: The Central government is in the process of setting up a five-member expert committee to decide the contours of the proposed Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) to look into grievances regarding discrimination.

The panel is likely to be headed by N.R. Madhava Menon, member of the Commission on Centre-State Relations.

Professor Menon’s name was cleared by the Prime Minister’s Office and he has been contacted by the Union Ministry for Minority Affairs.

Professor Menon said that though he had informed the Ministry about his willingness to take up the responsibility he wanted to clear it with the Chairman of the Commission on Centre-State Relations, Justice M.M. Punchhi.

The expert committee will also assess the primary issue as to whether it should be a constitutional authority or a statutory body.

Further, it will have to define the powers of the EOC recommended by the Sachar Committee in its study on the social and economic status of Muslims.

Other members

The other members of the committee include academics Javed Alam and Satish Deshpande besides Yogendra Yadav of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. A formal notification is yet to be issued.

Union Minister for Minority Affairs A.R. Antulay on Friday informed Parliament that such a committee would be set up to recommend the structure and functions of the EOC. In a statement on the follow-up action on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, the Minister said the government had in principle decided on an EOC.