March 24, 2019 National Commission for SC, ST & Linguistic Minorities By Sutirtha Datta Constitution of India 0 Comments Contents National Commission for SCsCompositionFunctionsPowersNational Commission for STFunctions Other Functions of CommissionSpecial Office for Linguistic Minorities National Commission for SCs Article 338, Part – XVI Originally, Article 338 of the Constitution provided for the appointment of a Special Officer for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). He was designated as the Commissioner for SCs and STs. In 1978, the Government (through a Resolution) set up a non-statutory multi-member Commission for SCs and STs. The Office of Commissioner for SCs and STs also continued to exist Later, the 65th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1995 provided for the establishment of a high level multi-member National Commission for SCs and STs The 89th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003 bifurcated the combined National Commission for SCs and STs It makes two separate bodies National Commission for SCs came into existence in 2004. Composition Same for National Commission for SC & ST. It has chairman, vice chairman and 3 other members. All appointed by the president. Their condition of service and tenure is determined by the president. Currently, tenure is 3 years. Chairman has status of a cabinet minister and vice chairman has a rank of a minister of state. Functions Same for National Commission for SC & ST. Safeguard, planning and inquiries regarding SCs. The commission presents an annual report upon the working of those safeguards to the President. It can also submit a report as and when it thinks necessary. The President places all such reports before the Parliament. President also forwards any report of the Commission pertaining to a state government to the state governor. Make recommendations to Union or a state for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the SCs. Powers Acts as a civil court when it tries a suit and can Summon witness, examine a person on oath Official records Receive affidavits Any other function as the president determines SC commission has to perform same functions for any backward caste as president may determine and the Anglo–Indian community. Centre and states have to consult these commissions while formulating policies for SC and ST. National Commission for ST Article 338-A, Part – XVI The separate National Commission for STs came into existence in 2004. It consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and 3 other members. They have all the powers of a civil court. Functions To investigate, safeguards for the Scheduled Tribes. To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes. Participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes under the Union and any State The commission presents an annual report upon the working of those safeguards to the President. It can also submit a report as and when it thinks necessary. The President places all such reports before the Parliament Other Functions of Commission In 2005, the President specified some other functions of the Commission in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the STs Measures to be taken over conferring ownership rights in respect of minor forest produce to STs living in forest areas Safeguard rights of the tribal communities over mineral resources, water resources etc. as per law Elicit maximum cooperation and involvement of tribal communities for protecting forests and undertaking social afforestation Ensure full implementation of the Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 Reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of shifting cultivation by tribals that lead to their continuous dis-empowerment and degradation of land and the environment Special Office for Linguistic Minorities Article 350-B, Part – XVII A Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities came into existence by 7th Constitutional Amendment – 1956 Appointed by the President of India It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities Constitution don’t specify Qualification, tenure, salaries, allowances, service condition and removal of him. HQ at Allahabad. Regional office – Belgaum, Chennai, Kolkata headed by assistant commissioner for Linguistic Minorities. Office came under Ministry of Minority Affairs. The commission presents an annual report to President through Ministry of Minority Affairs. The linguistic minorities are determined on a state–wise basis.