The government cannot take suo motu action in cases of racial abuse until a formal complaint is filed by the victim, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said on Wednesday.
"We cannot take suo motu action until the victim lodges a formal complaint," Rijiju told the Rajya Sabha in the context of a Khasi woman who was asked to leave the elite Delhi Golf Club in June for wearing her traditional attire.
"In this case, I myself asked Delhi Police to investigate the matter. But the woman has not lodged a formal complaint," he said.
Congress member Bhubaneswar Kalita, who also hails from the northeast, asked the Minister as to why an FIR should be a hindrance to taking action against racial abuse.
Rijiju said that currently there was no provision in law to enable the police to take suo motu cognizance of such crimes.
"Racial crimes are serious matters but the law has to take its own course. I cannot make my own law. If we have suitable laws in place it will be easier for police to act," he said.
Tailin Lyngdoh of Meghalaya was asked to leave the Delhi Golf Club on June 25 where she and her employer, Nivedita Barthakur, were invited for lunch by a member.
Replying to a supplementary question, Rijiju said that to tackle racially motivated crimes, the Home Ministry has proposed to insert Section 153 (A) and Section 509 (A) into the Indian Penal Code.
But since the matter falls under Concurrent List, the Centre needs approval from the majority of states.
So far only seven states and Union Territories have given a "positive response", he said.