21 December 2004
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI (MAHARASHTRA): Mr Chairman, thank you very much. I rise to propose that the Bill for the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, be referred to the Select Committee as proposed by Shrimati Sushma Swaraj, with the amendment proposed by Shri Nariman that the Members of the Select Committee should be chosen by the Chairman. Mr. Chairman, when I left my residence this morning, I had the copy of the Bill and I came fully determined to support the Bill in the strongest manner possible. After all, I speak for the Swatantra Bharat Party, which -- if I can use the term -- is fundamentally a secular Party. And we do believe that the minority problem, essentially, pertains to the educational levels and economic levels and what we need to do is to emphasise development of the minority community, rather than, if we don't do that, then there are people who will emphasise the civil parts of it. Somebody will talk of Shariat; somebody will talk of the Common Civil Code. And if we want to avoid that, then, we should come to the basic issue. Having listened to the debate, there has been a change of mind. I have heard the speeches of so many people and observed very minutely the body language of so many people and I have come to the conclusion that, at present, the situation is this: One political formation bungled in pandering to the jingoism of a majority community and they failed because the people in India don’t accept that kind of extremism. And now, the other side is trying to take advantage. If they failed to corner the majority then, these people think that, they will be able to corner a minority which has less liberal traditions, with the result that a number of things are being tried. Mr. Apte talked about it so that they can be more sure of, at least, a smaller minority and they will deliver the political power which has not been delivered to the other political formation by the majority community. I have heard the Hon. HRD Minister’s speech, and I have a feeling that he asked his Secretary, on assuming charge, to find out all the cases where he could possibly say that his predecessor had shown some kind of a prejudice against the minority. This is what often happens and the way he presented only one case of an educational institution, as it was pointed by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, as also by another Member, that in fact, there were, at least, 25 cases of minority institutions having been given the Deemed University status, it shows that there is not only a bias but there is a definite attempt being made here against the other party in order to corner a certain vote. I feel, Sir, from the speeches that there were a number of points, which have not been clarified at all. Number one - the Minority Community Convention that was held was on the confession and ambition of the HRD Minister himself, a manipulated convention; it did not call half the political parties; the BJP was not called, the Socialist Party was not called. So, therefore, this convention cannot be taken as the proper basis, and, the Bill needs a further examination.
Then, I counted the number of reservations that were made in this House. There were 73 reservations. Even those people who said that they support the Bill had something to say on certain major or minor points. There are at least 73 points that need to be looked into. For example, the major things are - the 'minority' thing has not been defined. As far as the educational institutions go, Sir, six are at some of the top ladder in the whole country.
Parsis are possibly organising the education for the other communities, and, so are Christians. For Buddhists, which is also a religious minority, we have found out a method of reservation. We don't talk of special institutions for the Buddhists. Why is it that we are talking of reservations for one particular religion while we are talking of special institutions for other communities?
Then, the status of the Chairman and the role of the Secretary are not clear. My experience, Sir, in the case of Consumers' Protection Act etc. is - whenever the procedures of adjudication are resorted to, there are invariable delays, and, there is invariable corruption.
But I feel, the way in which you are doing it - first you tried to push it through an Ordinance, and, now you want to convert it into an Act. If there is some delay, because we refer it to the Select Committee, there is not going to be any injustice to any minority, or, no community is going to be deprived of any right, because the Ordinance will continue to be in force. And, therefore, we can be careful, we can consider every word, every clause, and, every provision so that we do not make a mistake in a hurry at which we might have to regret later. Thank you very much.