National Commission for SCs | POLITY
Introduction | NATIONAL COMMISSION for SCs | POLITY
- The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCs) is a constitutional body in the sense that it is directly established by Article 338 of the Constitution.
- On the other hand, the other national commissions like the National Commission for Women (1992), the National Commission for Minorities (1993), the National Human Rights Commission (1993) and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (2007) are statutory bodies in the sense that they are established by acts of the Parliament.
- Initially, the constitution provided for the appointment of a Special Officer under Article 338.
- This special officer was designated as the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- In 1987, the government, upon pressure from various Members of Parliament, decided to form a multi-member commission for the welfare of the SCs and STs instead of a one-member commission.
- The 65th Amendment to the constitution replaced the one-member system with a multi-member National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Constitution (65th Amendment) Act 1990, amended the Article 338 of the Constitution. The newly formed National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes consisted of 5 members apart from the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Commission.
- The 89th Amendment in 2003 replaced this Commission with the following with effect from 2004:
- National Commission for Scheduled Castes
- National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
- The first National Commission for Scheduled Castes was formed in 2004 under the chairmanship of Suraj Bhan.
Functions | NATIONAL COMMISSION for SCs | POLITY
- Monitoring and investigating all issues concerning the safeguards provided for the SCs under the constitution.
- Enquiring into complaints relating to the deprivation of the rights and safeguards of the SCs.
- Taking part in and advising the central or state governments with respect to the planning of socio-economic development of the SCs.
- Regular reporting to the President of the country on the implementation of these safeguards.
- Recommending steps to be taken to further the socio-economic development and other welfare activities of the SCs.
- Any other function with respect to the welfare, protection, development and advancement of the SC community.
Report Of The Commission
- The commission presents an annual report to the president. It can also submit a report as and when it thinks necessary.
- The President places all such reports before the Parliament, along with a memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations made by the Commission. The memorandum should also contain the reasons for the non-acceptance of any of such recommendations.
- The President also forwards any report of the Commission pertaining to a state government to the state governor. The governor places it before the state legislature, along with a memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations of the Commission. The memorandum should also contain the reasons for the non-acceptance of any of such recommendations. ( NATIONAL COMMISSION for SCs | POLITY )
Powers Of The Commission
- The Commission is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure.
- The Commission, while investigating any matter or inquiring into any complaint, has all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters:
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
- Requiring the discovery and production of any document;
- Receiving evidence on affidavits;
- Requisitioning any public record from any court or office;
- Issuing summons for the examination of witnesses and documents; and
- Any other matter which the President may determine.
- The Central government and the state governments are required to consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting the SCs.
- The Commission is also required to discharge similar functions with regard to the Anglo-Indian Community as it does with respect to the SCs. In other words, the Commission has to investigate all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the Anglo-Indian Community and report to the President upon their working .
- Till 2018, the commission was also required to discharge similar functions with regard to the other backward classes (OBCs). It was relieved from this responsibility by the 102nd Amendment Act of 2018.