National Commission for Scheduled Castes
The 89th Amendment Act, 2003 bifurcated the earlier National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes into two distinct commissions. Article 338 provides for a National Commission for the Scheduled Castes, which reads:
- There shall be a Commission for the Scheduled Castes to be known as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
- Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other members and the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other members so appointed shall be such as the President may by rule determine.
- The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
- The Commission shall have the power to regulate its own procedure.
- It shall be the duty of the Commission:
(a) to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this Constitution or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
(b) to enquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes;
(c) to participate and advise on 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; (d) to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
(e) to make in such reports recommendations 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; and
(f) to discharge such other functions, insulation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament by rule specify.
- The President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any such recommendations.
- Where any such report, or any part thereof, relates to any matter with which any State Government is concerned, a copy of such report shall be forwarded to the Governor of the State who shall cause it to be laid before the legislature of the State alongwith a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the State and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any of any of such recommendations.
- The Commission shall, while investigating any matter referred to in sub-clause (a) or inquiring into any complaint referred to in sub-clause (b) of clause (5) have all powers of a civil court trying a suit, particularly in respect of: (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath; (b) requiring the discovery and production of any document; (c) receiving evidence on affidavits; (d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; (e) issuing summons for the examination of witnesses and documents; (f) any other matter which the President may, by rule, determine.
- The Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting Scheduled Castes. The National Commission for the Scheduled Castes (NCSC) not only investigates but also monitors the implementation of the safeguards relating to the Scheduled Castes. It examines implementation of the laws, provisions with regard to reservations in recruitments, promotions and admissions relating to educational institutions and economic development. The first report of NCSC was placed before the Parliament, i.e., report of 2004-05 only in 2008. The Standing Committee of Parliament on Social Justice and Empowerment helps promote the welfare of the Scheduled Castes.
The NCSC supervises the implementation of the provisions of the Constitution and the other facilities given to the them. The Constitution provides the following safeguards to the Scheduled Castes: A brief description of the role of the NCSC can be given as under: (a) Educational safeguards under Article 15(4) for reservations of seats in education institutions; (b) Working of Service safeguards provided under Article 16(4A)] 16(4B), 330, 331, 332 and 335. (c) Acting upon Article 23 of the Constitution which prohibits human trafficking and forced labour, etc.; (d) Prohibition of child labour under Article 24; in respect of SCs; (e) To safeguard the distinct language, script or culture under Article 29(1); (f) Economic safeguards under Article 244 and working of Fifth and Sixth Schedules; (g) The implementation of the following : (i) Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (in respect of Scheduled Tribes). (ii) Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 (in respect of Scheduled Tribes). (iii) Forest Conservation Act, 1980 (in respect of Scheduled Tribes). (iv) The Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996. (v) The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The four wings of the NCSC help protect the interests of the Scheduled Castes. These wings are : (i) Administration and Coordination wing provides administrative support and coordinates various activities of the NCSC. (ii) Service Safeguards wing deals with the implementation of service safeguards provided to the SCs. 126?Indian Polity and Governance (iii) Atrocities and Protection wing deals with matters relating to the atrocities caused to the SCs and the provision of protection as prescribed by various Acts as passed by the Government. (iv) Economic and Social Development wing deals with matters relating to the economic and social development plans and schemes for the SCs.
Written by princy