Special Provisions relating to certain Classes
Article 330 to 342 make special provisions for safeguarding the interest of Scheduled castes, Scheduled Tribes, Anglo-Indians and Backward Classes.
Articles 330 and 332 deals with the reservation of seats in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies respectively. Article 330 provides for the reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The number of seats reserved in any State or Union territory for such castes and tribes will be made on the population basis.
Similarly, Article 332 provides for the reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes in the legislative assemblies of every state. The constitution 58th amendment act 1987 has amended article 332 of the constitution which provides for reservation of seats for “STs” in Arunachal, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The Constitution (79th Amendment) Act 1999:
The seats are reserved for the SCs and STS and they are elected by all the voters in the constituency. There is no separate electorate for SCs and STs. Article 325 expressly provides that there shall be one general electoral roll. This means that a member of SC and ST may contest any seat other than reserved.
Article 335 makes it clear that the claims of the members of the SC/ST shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration in the making of appointment to services and posts in connection with the affair of the Union or of a State.
National Commission of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes:
The constitution (65th amendment) Act 1990, has amended article 338 of the constitution. The amended article 338 provides for the establishment of National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in place of a Special Officer.
Constitution of Commission: The commission shall consist of a chairman, vice chairman and five other members. The chairman, vice chairman and the members of the commission shall be appointed by the President.
Duties of Commission:
- To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards for SCs and STs under the constitution and any other law or any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
- To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of SCs and STs.
- To participate and advice on planning process of socio economic development of SCs and STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
- To present to the President reports upon the working of those safeguards annually and at such other times as the commission deems fit.
- To make recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Centre and State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio economic development of SCs and STs.
Article 338 provided for the appointment of the special officer by President for the Scheduled Castes and STs. The special officer was required to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for these classes and to report to the President upon the working of those safeguards at such intervals as president would direct.
The President was to cause all such reports to be laid down before each house of Parliament. The President may at any time and shall at the expiration of ten years from commencement of the constitution, appoint a commission to report on the administration of the Scheduled areas and the welfare of the STs in the State. The Central government is also authorized to give directions to the State as to the drawing up an execution of Scheduled specified in the direction to be essential for the welfare of ST in the State.
Anglo-Indians- according to article 366 (2) an Anglo-Indian means a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India or born within such territory and whose parents habitually were resident in India and not established for temporary purposes only.
Backward Classes-Under article 340 (1), the President is empowered to appoint the commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of the socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India.
Linguistic minority is a class of people whose mother tongue is different from that of the majority in the State or part of a State. Article 350-A, imposes a duty on the State to endeavor to provided adequate facilities for instructions in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority.
Article 347 provides for the use of majority language in the administration.
Article 350 gives right to every person to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a State in any of the Language used in the Union or a state, as the case may be.
Article 350-B, empowers the President to appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities. It is the duty of the special officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under this constitution and report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct.