In this article, we will discuss the National Commission for Scheduled Castes in a simple and easy way and try to understand its various important aspects.
The Scheduled Castes Commission and the Scheduled Tribes Commission used to be one in the past, but now both work as separate bodies under separate ministry.
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| Who is a Scheduled Caste (SC)?
Article 341 defines who is a Scheduled Caste (SC).
Article 341 states that – (1) The President, in relation to any State or Union territory, where that State is; there may, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the castes, races or tribes or parts thereof or group thereof. shall, for the purposes of this Constitution, be deemed to be a Scheduled Caste in relation to that State or Union territory.
(2) Parliament has the right, by law, to grant to any caste, race or tribe or part thereof or group thereof; may include in or exclude from the list the Scheduled Castes specified in the notification issued under clause (1).
Q. Why was there a need to set up a commission for Scheduled Castes?
Scheduled Castes are those people of our society who were considered at the lowest rung in the caste system. And the work which was considered the smallest and worst in the society was considered assigned to him. Such as manual scavenging, laundry etc. That is why these castes suffered the most untouchability and exploitation.
The framers of the Constitution took note of the fact that their accelerated socio-economic development required special attention. These communities were notified as Scheduled Castes in accordance with the provisions contained in Article 341 of the Constitution.
In independent India, the people of these communities can be brought into the mainstream, and they can be saved from exploitation and inequality etc.; For this it was necessary that there should be a separate commission or department in the government concerned with the interest of these people. In this context, the Scheduled Castes Commission was constituted.
| What is National Commission for Scheduled Castes?
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), is a constitutional body established with the objective of providing protection against exploitation of Scheduled Castes and Anglo Indian communities to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests. .
- It is a constitutional body because Article 338 of the Constitution of India interprets it as saying that there shall be a Commission for the Scheduled Castes which shall be known as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
- The National Commission for Scheduled Castes comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.
Other national commissions like National Commission for Women 1992, National Commission for Minorities 1993, National Commission for Backward Classes 1993, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights 2007, etc. are statutory commissions and not constitutional commissions, because they have been established by an Act of Parliament.
| History of the Commission
Originally Article 338 of the Constitution provided for the appointment of a special officer for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (both). Whose main job was to inspect all the matters related to the constitutional protection of scheduled castes and tribes and to submit the report related to them before the President.
The first commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (both) was set up in August 1978. It was set up as a national level advisory body to advise the government on broader policy issues and levels of development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. But it was a non-statutory body as it was created by a resolution.
In 1987, the government, through another resolution, changed the name of the commission to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes .
Later, by the 65th Constitutional Amendment 1990, a multi-member constitutional body at the national level was established, which came to be known as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. In this way the commission which was constituted by a resolution in 1987 was merged with this newly formed Constitutional Commission.
The first Constitutional National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes came into existence in 1992. In which both Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were included.
By the 89th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003, this National Commission was divided into two parts and two new commissions named National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (under Article 338A) were formed.
Overall, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes came into existence separately from the year 2004. And now the 6th Commission is completing its term. [Which you can see in the chart below ;]
|S.No. _||Name||resignation and resignation||commission|
|1||Suraj Bhan||24 Feb 2004 to 6 Aug 2007||1st|
|2||Buta Singh||25 May 2007 to 24 May 2010||2nd|
|3||PL Punia||15 Oct 2010 to 14 Oct 2013|
& 22 Oct 2013 to 21 Oct 2016
|3rd & 4th|
|4||RS Katheria||31 May 2017 to 30 May 2020||5th|
|5||Vijay Sampla||18 Feb 2021 to 1 February 2022||6th|
| Composition of the Commission
The Commission consists of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and three other members. They are appointed by the President by his order and stamped order. Their service conditions and tenure are also determined by the President. Remember here that the Commission has the power to regulate its own procedure.
| FUNCTIONS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION
Clause 5 of Article 338 explains the duty of the Commission;
1. To investigate and monitor all matters relating to safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this Constitution or under any other law or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
2. To investigate and hear specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes.
3. To participate in and advise the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
4. To report to the President annually and at such other times as may be necessary. and to make recommendations in such reports as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes.
The commission submits its annual report to the President. The President also sends this report to the Governors of the respective states. Which causes it to be laid before the legislature of the state.
5. To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes. As the President may, by rule, specify, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament.
| Powers of the Commission
Clause 8 of Article 338 explains the powers of the Commission; According to which, when the Commission is inquiring into any act or inquiring into any complaint, it shall have the powers of a civil court, that is to say;
- summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
- requiring the appearance and production of any document;
- receiving evidence on affidavits;
- requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
- issuing commissions for the examination of documents;
- Any other matter which may be determined by the President.
It is to be remembered here that Article 338(9) provides that the Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all important policy matters affecting the Scheduled Castes.
Any reference under Article 338 to the Scheduled Castes shall also be deemed to be a reference to the Anglo-Indian community. That is to say that this commission will work in relation to the Anglo-Indian community in the same way as it does for the Scheduled Castes. In other words, the Anglo-Indian community will also conduct an inquiry regarding constitutional protection and other legal protections and submit a report to the President in this regard.
| Constitutional safeguards for scheduled castes
There are many such provisions in the Constitution for the Scheduled Castes, which protect their interests in a multi-dimensional manner; as:
Article 15(4) :- Under this, affirmative action can be taken in favor of Scheduled Castes even in spite of the things written in Article 29(2).
Article 29 – Under this, the Scheduled Castes get the right to maintain their language, culture or script etc.
Article 46 : – Under this, it is the duty of the government to make its policy in such a way that the educational and economic interests of the Scheduled Castes can be increased.
Article 350:- Under this, for the redress of his grievance, any person has the right to make representations to any officer of the State in any language used in the Union or in the State.
Article 350 ‘A’ :- Under this, a linguistic minority can give primary education to its children in their mother tongue. And it is the duty of the President to direct the state to ensure such a system.
Article 350 ‘B’: – Under this, a President shall appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities, who shall investigate matters relating to their safeguard measures and submit them to the President, so that the President can cause them to be laid before Parliament or the State Legislature.
Article 23 : – This article protects against human trafficking and forced labor.
Article 244: – Under this, all the provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Schedule shall apply to the administration and control of the Scheduled Castes area in other states of the country including Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
Article 275: – This article talks about grants-in-aid to the specified states falling under the fifth and sixth schedules of the constitution.
Article 330: – This article gives reservation to the Scheduled Castes in the Lok Sabha.
Article 332: – This article gives reservation to the Scheduled Castes in the State Legislative Assemblies .
Along with this, efforts have been made to empower them through reservation in posts, appointments and promotions. You can read the article given below to know how this reservation works.
|Reservation in India [1/4]||[1/4]|
|Constitutional basis of reservation and its various aspects [2/4]||[2/4]|
|Evolution of Reservation [3/4]||[3/4]|
|Roster – The Maths Behind Reservation [4/4]||[4/4]|
So overall this was the National Commission for Scheduled Castes; Hope it is understood. You would know that Scheduled Castes also get the benefit of reservation in India, so read the given article for complete information regarding reservation.
⚫ Other Important Articles ⚫
Constitution of India
Commentary on constitution (fundamental rights) – d d basu
FAQs Related to Reservation