Alam Shaikh Vs. The State of Maharashtra
& ANR  INSC 147 (10 February 1997)
RAMASWAMY, G.T. NANAWATI
O R D E
heard the counsel on both sides.
appeal by special leave arises from the judgment of the Bombay High Court dated 30.10.95 made in
W.P. No. 1349/95 dismissing the writ petition. The appellant has challenged the
abolition of the Minority Commission set up by the State Government. When the
matter had come up earlier, we had issued notice as to why the National
commission should not take up the issue of protecting the interest of the
minorities in the State of Maharashtra as
show cause why the National Commission for minorities should not undertake the
responsibility under the statute for the protection and safeguarding the
interest of the minorities in the State of Maharashtra." Pursuant thereto, the National Commission as well as
the Central Government have filed their counter affidavits.
State of Maharashtra has independently filed its
counter. Section 3 of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, for
short the Act, provides that the Central Government shall constitute a body to
be known as "the National Commission" for Minorities to exercise the
powers conferred on, and to perform the functions assigned to it under the Act.
Section 9 of the Act in Chapter III envisages the functions of the Commission.
The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely, (a)
to evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and
States; (b) to monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the
constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures; (c)
make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the
protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the
State Governments......" Sub-section (2) postulates that the Central
Government shall cause the recommendations referred to in clause (c) of sub-
section (1) to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum
explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations
relating to the Union and the reasons for non-acceptance, if any, of any of
such recommendations. Thus, it could be seen that under the statute, as rightly
conceded by the learned counsel for the appellant, there is no statutory
compulsion, on the part of the State Government, to constitute a Commission
called "the Minority Commission" in the State. On the other hand, by operation
of Section 3 read with Section 9, it is the duty of the Central Government to
constitute a National Commission and it shall be the duty and the
responsibility of the National Commission to ensure compliance of the
principles and programmes evaluated in Section 9 of the Act protecting the
interest of the minorities for their development and working of the safeguards
provided to them in the Constitution and the laws enacted by the Parliament as
well as the State Legislatures. The object, thereby, is to integrate them in
the national main stream in the united and integrated Bharat providing
facilities and opportunities to improve their economic and social status and
State Government cannot be directed, by a mandamus, to constitute a Commission
or to reconstitute the Commission which was abolished by it, due to want of
not in dispute that the State Commission for Minorities was constituted by the
earlier Government of Maharashtra and it came to be abolished by the successor
political party in power. It is contended by Shri M.N. Shroff, learned counsel
for the appellant that the decision taken by the State Government is mala fide.
We find no force in the contention.
be that perception of political parties differ from one another. But when the
Government found, after the political party was voted to power and the decision
taken by the Cabinet to abolish the minority Commission, it cannot be characterised
a mala fide decision. May be the perception may not be correct in the view of
another political party.
decision may or not be right, but it cannot be characterised as a mala fide
those circumstances, we cannot hold that the decision to abolish the Minority
Commission by the State Government, in the absence of any statutory compulsion,
was not in accordance with law. It is now an admitted position that, as stated
in the counter affidavit by the Central Government that they have undertaken to
establish the branch of National Commission in Maharashtra at Mumbai to monitor
the development of the minorities and the working of the safeguards as provided
in the Constitution and in the laws enacted by the Parliament and the State
Legislature in relation to the State of Maharashtra.
those circumstances, the apprehension expressed by the appellant that the
rights and the safeguards given to the minorities would not now be monitored is
these circumstances, we don not find any compelling reason warranting
interference. The appeal is accordingly disposed of. No costs.