In an important decision taken during the cabinet meeting held
yesterday, the Maharashtra government approved the proposal to grant judicial powers to the state
minorities commission to strengthen its functioning.
"The judicial powers will enable the commission to summon officers
against whom complaints have been filed and call for official
papers for documentary evidence", Minorities Development minister Mohammed Arif Naseem
Khan said while addressing the press after the meeting.
"This will help the commission to carry out their work
independently and expeditiously. Earlier, summons from the
commission were not binding on the bureaucrats. Now, it will be
mandatory," he said.
The Maharashtra Minorities Commission so far did not have such
powers because of which it was regarded as a powerless
institution. Granting the judicial power will help the commission
in addressing the complaints it received.
States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh,
West Bengal and Chhattisgarh have the similar provisions for
granting judicial powers to minorities commission under their
While the minister announced
granting judicial power to the commission, he was tightlipped on
when the commission would be re-constituted and names of its
chairman, vice-chairman and members would be declared.
The Maharashtra Minorities
Commission is without these posts ever since Mohd Naseem Siddiqui
and Abraham Mathai completed their terms few months back as
chairman and vice-chairman respectively.