National Commission for SC, ST & 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
    1. Summon witness, examine a person on oath
    2. Official records
    3. Receive affidavits
    4. Any other function as the president determines
  • SC commission has to perform same functions for any backward caste as president may determine and the AngloIndian community.
  • Centre and states have to consult these commissions while formulating policies for SC and ST.

 

National Commission for SC, ST & Linguistic Minorities

 

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 Amendment1956
  • 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 statewise basis.

 

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