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(Adopted in the seminar on ‘Justice Sachar Committee Report : A Review After 10 Years’)
The Sachar Committee, headed by Justice Rajindar Sachar, was constituted in 2005 by the then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh to prepare a report about social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in the country. The findings and recommendations of the report immediately became a topic of sharp debate in political, social and intellectual circles as it was presented in the Lok Sabha on 30 November 2006. The report has completed 10 years of its release on 30 November 2016. To mark this occasion Socialist Yuvjan Sabha (SYS), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Khudai Khidmatgar have organized a one-day seminar in Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi, on 22 December 2016. Scholars from various disciplines including some representatives of the Muslim community participated in the deliberations and reviewed the progress of the report, particularly the implementation aspect of its recommendations, carried out by central and state governments in the last 10 years.
Following resolution was deliberated upon and passed at the end of the seminar.
The Minorities, especially the Muslims, have been the ignored factor by all Central Governments. Amongst the various recommendations, the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee Report had recommended the establishment of Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) as an instrument to prevent discrimination against minorities in the private sector like housing, employment (since courts cannot interfere in cases of discrimination in private sector). This recommendation has been inexcusably violated and also remained in cold storage.
The EOC can be set up by the state governments without taking permission from the Central government. Hence this seminar resolves that the present state governments run by secular parties should immediately establish the EOC in their respective states.
A very urgent recommendation of the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee Report dealt with the unfairness of divisions of electoral constituencies which results in lesser number of Muslims in the legislature to which they are broadly entitled based on the population. This anomaly arises from the irrational demarcation of seats in the legislature.
Thus in U.P. there is abundant potential for substantial number of Muslims to win seats. For instance, in U. P. that sends the largest number of members (80) to Lok Sabha, there are 25- 52%, Muslim’s in 18 seats, in 23 seats Muslims are 15- 24% and in another 18 seats Muslims are 10-14%. Similar is the demographic – electoral reflection in most of the states.” It was further pointed out that delimitation of constituencies in a fair manner is essential. But on the contrary the constituencies with substantial number of Muslims have been reserved for S.C., and constituencies with substantial number of S.C. voters are unreserved. This is unfair to both Muslims and S.C. electorate.
The Committee had hoped that it would receive the attention of the Government immediately because the Delimitation Commission was at that time engaged in this exercise and evidently any suggestion or any exercise to be done by it had to be undertaken during the current term of the then Delimitation Commission.
The Committee had concluded that Muslims were thus denied benefits in politics since assembly constituencies where the voter population from the community was substantial were reserved for scheduled caste candidates for election. In all fairness it would have been more equitable to reserve those constituencies for SCs where their voter population is high rather than those where it is low and the Muslims presence is higher.
But, the High Powered Committee’s suggestion was ignored during the delimitation. This anomaly is a reason for low representation of Muslims in the legislatures. How inequitable that important issues related to the community are ignored or don’t get the desired priority. Somebody has to take the responsibility for not taking concrete action in order to remove this anomaly. Mere lip sympathy is a facade. The seminar resolves that a concrete action should be taken in this matter.
(President, Khudai Khidmatgar)