EDEN IAS

THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES | GS ARTICLES

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”> The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs) is a constitutional body established by </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Article 338 of the Constitution. </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”> Originally, Article 338 of the Constitution provided for the appointment of a Special Officer for </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) to investigate all matters relating to the </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>constitutional safeguards for the SCs and STs and to report to the President on their working. He </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>was designated as the Commissioner for SCs and STs and assigned the said duty. </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”> In 1978, the Government (through a Resolution) set up a non-statutory multimember </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Commission for SCs and STs; the Office of Commissioner for SCs and STs also continued to exist. </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”> In 1987, the Government (through another Resolution) modified the functions of the </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Commission and renamed it as the National Commission for SCs and STs.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”> Later, the 65th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1990 provided for the establishment of a </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>high level multi-member National Commission for SCs and STs in the place of a single Special </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Officer for SCs and STs. This constitutional body replaced the Commissioner for SCs and STs as </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>well as the Commission set up under the Resolution of 1987.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”> The 89th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003 bifurcated the combined National </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Commission for SCs and STs into two separate bodies, namely, National Commission for </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Scheduled Castes (under Article 338) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (under </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Article 338-A). </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”> The separate National Commission for SCs came into existence in 2004. It consists of a </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members. They are appointed by the </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>President by warrant under his hand and seal. Their conditions of service and tenure of office </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>are also determined by the President.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b>Functions</b>:</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b>The functions of the Commission</b> are: </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(a) To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>the SCs and to evaluate their working; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(b) To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the SCs; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(c) To participate and advise on the planning process of socioeconomic development of the SCs and to </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>evaluate the progress of their development under the Union or a state; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(d) To present to the President, annually and at such other times as it may deem fit, reports upon the </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>working of those safeguards; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(e) To make recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or a state for the </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>economic development of the SCs; and(f) To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>advancement of the SCs as the president may specify.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>The commission presents an annual report to the president. It can also submit a report as and when it </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>thinks necessary. The President places all such reports before the Parliament, along with a </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations made by the Commission. The </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>memorandum should also contain the reasons for the non-acceptance of any of such recommendations. </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>The President also forwards any report of the Commission pertaining to a state government to the </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>state governor. The governor places it before the state legislature, along with a memorandum </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>explaining the action taken on the recommendations of the Commission. The memorandum should also </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>contain the reasons for the non-acceptance of any of such recommendations.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b>Powers of Commission</b>:</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>The Commission is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure. The Commission, while </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>investigating any matter or inquiring into any complaint, has all the powers of a civil court trying a suit </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>and in particular in respect of the following matters: </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>examining him on oath; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(c) receiving evidence on affidavits; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(d) requisitioning any public record from any court or office; </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(e) issuing summons for the examination of witnesses and documents; and </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(f) any other matter which the President may determine.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>The Central government and the state governments are required to consult the Commission on all </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>major policy matters affecting the SCs. </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>The Commission is also required to discharge similar functions with regard to the Anglo-Indian </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Community as it does with respect to the SCs.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Till 2018, the commission was also required to discharge similar functions with regard to the other </span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>backward classes (OBCs). It was relieved from this responsibility by the 102nd Amendment Act of 2018.</span></span></span></p>

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