National Commission for Scheduled Castes
National Commission for Scheduled Castes is committed to the full implementation of the various acts like the PCR Act, 1955 and SC and ST (POA) Act, 1989. The NCSC will endeavor to ensure that the economic development schemes for SC population are implemented as per guidelines and every penny of SCP/SCSP is spent appropriately exclusively for the benefit of Scheduled Castes.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes
National Commission for Scheduled Caste is a constitutional body under article 338 appointed by the President. It has been established with a view to provide safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Caste. In addition, to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests, special provisions were made in the Constitution.
- There shall be a Commission for the Scheduled Castes to be known as the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes.
- It shall be the duty of the commission to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this Constitution
- To enquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes
- 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
- To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards
- 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.
- To discharge such other functions in relation 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 the rule specify.
Powers of the Commission:
(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 documents
(c) Receiving evidence on affidavits
(d) Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office
(e) Issuing commissions 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
However, as per our constitution and the rules and orders mentioned above, SCs in India have been categorized in various ways state wise. For instance, in Andhra Pradesh- adi-andhra and adi-dravida etc; Assam- hira, kaibartta etc
A critical appraisal
- The commission has from time to time set up various committees and published many reports to show the lacuna and weak link in terms of protection for the scheduled castes.
- The National Commission for Scheduled Castes in a special report has stated that ignorance of law, fear of reprisals and lack of faith in the enforcement system, often compels victims to acquiesce in the existing unjust situation.
- Though the article 338 provides for setting up of Special Courts for trying offences, the Supreme Court has held that such courts can take cognizance of a case only after it has been committed to it by the jurisdictional Magistrate. As a result, a complaint or a charge sheet cannot be filed before the Special Court. This has added one more step to the trial process. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has recommended an amendment to the Act to remove this lacuna.
- On various accounts they have questioned the policy of executives and policy formulations.
- The commission has given voice to the vulnerable communities and has acted as a guardian for the protection and welfare of the Scheduled Castes.
However, some of the issues have persisted even after so much of dedicated effort can be enlisted as follows –
- Untouchability is still practiced in many forms throughout the country.
- The crimes against these vulnerable groups of SCs are on an increase.
- Scheduled Castes have lagged behind even in terms of poverty, illiteracy, health, social set up etc.