National Commission for SCs and STs- Indian Polity Notes

Indian Polity -Amendment of Indian Constitution

 

 

 

 

 National Commission for SCs and STs: [Indian Polity Notes for UPSC, SSC etc.]

This Article discusses the National Commission For SCs and STs and the history, powers, functions and composition of the commissions established by the Constitution of India.

Are both National Commission for SCs and National Commission for STs  Constitutional bodies?

  • Yes
  • Both , the National Commission for SCs and National Commission for STs are  Constitutional bodies as they are directly established under Article 338 and Article 338-A respectively ,of the Constitution of India.
  • Remember: Article 338 for National Commission for SCs and Article 338-A for National Commission for STs.

History of National Commission for SCs and National Commission for STs:

 

  • Originally, the Constitution of India did not contain the provision for establishing a National Commission for SCs and National Commission for STs. Instead it provided for the appointment of a Special officer for Scheduled Castes(SCs) and Scheduled tribes(STs). He was called as Commissioner for SCs and STs.
  • In 1978, Government of India, through a resolution, set up a multi-member commission for SCs and STs. The office of the Commissioner for SCs and STs also continued to exist.
  • In 1987, Government passed another resolution. In this, the functions of the commission were modified and the commission was renamed as National Commission for SCs and STs.
  • Finally In 1990, the Constitution was amended by 65th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1990. This Act provided for the establishment of multi-member National Commission for SCs and STS. It replaces all the earlier mentioned bodies and became the sole constitutional body dealing with safeguarding the constitutional rights of SCs and STs.
  • Then in 2003, under the 89th constitutional Amendment of 2003, the bifurcation of the National commission for SCs and STs took place. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs) were made into two separate bodies. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs) was put under Article 338 and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs) was put under Article 338-A.

How many members are there in National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs) ? Who appoints them?:

  • There are 5 members in the National Commission for SCs.
  • 1 Chairperson, 1 vice-chairperson and 3 other members.
  • All of them are appointed by the President of India.
  • Conditions of service and tenure is NOT fixed by the Constitution of India. It is decided by the President.

How many members are there in National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs) ? Who appoints them?:

  • There are 5 members in the National Commission for STs.
  • 1 Chairperson, 1 vice-chairperson and 3 other members.
  • All of them are appointed by the President of India.
  • Conditions of service and tenure is NOT fixed by the Constitution of India. It is decided by the President.

Functions of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs):

  • To investigate and monitor all the matters related to constitutional and legal safeguards for SCs.
  • To inquire any specific complaint related to rights of Scheduled Castes (SCs).
  • To participate in the planning process for development of Scheduled Castes (SCs) under Union or State.
  • To present an Annual Report to the President on the working of constitutional  safeguard for SCs. It can also submit the report whenever it thinks, is necessary.
  • To recommend the Union or any State for the effective implementation of constitutional safeguards for Scheduled castes (SCs).
  • All other functions related to SCs as the President may ask.
  • Also, The National Commission for SCs has to carry out the similar functions for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the Anglo-Indian Community as it does for Scheduled Castes (SCs).

Functions of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs):

  • To investigate and monitor all the matters related to constitutional and legal safeguards for Scheduled Tribes (STs)
  • To inquire any specific complaint related to rights of Scheduled Tribes (STs).
  • To participate in the planning process for the development of Scheduled Tribes (STs) under Union or State.
  • To present an Annual Report to the President on the working of constitutional safeguards for STs. It can also submit the report whenever it thinks, is necessary.
  • To recommend the Union or any State for the effective implementation of constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Tribes (STs).
  • All other functions related to STs as the President may ask.

Reports of the Commissions:

  • The President lays out all the reports received from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the parliament.
  • The President also forwards any report related to a particular state to the State Governor. The Governor then lays out the report in the State legislature.

Powers of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs):

  • Both the National Commission for SC as well as National Commission for ST, have all the powers of a CIVIL COURT, while investigating any matter.
  • They can summon any person from any part of India and examine him.
  • They can ask for the production of any document related to the matter of inquiry.
  • They can receive evidence on affidavits.
  • They can check any public record from any court or office.

 

 

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