Who are Scheduled Tribes?
The framers of the Constitution took note of the fact that certain communities in the country were suffering from extreme social, educational and economic backwardness on account of the primitive agricultural practices, lack of infrastructure facilities and geographical isolation. The Constitution of India in Article 366 (25) prescribe that the Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 of the Constitution to be Scheduled Tribes.
The provisions under Article 342 read as follows:
342(1) Scheduled Tribes --- the President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory as the case may be.
(2) Parliament may be law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.
Criteria for specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe
While the Constitution is silent about the criteria for specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe. The words and the phrase 'tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities" in Article 342 have to be understood in terms of their historical background of backwardness. Primitiveness, geographical isolation, shyness and social, educational & economic backwardness due to these reasons are the traits that distinguish Scheduled Tribe communities of our country from other communities. It takes into account the definitions of tribal Communities adopted in the 1931 Census. These facts are the basis for the provision in Article 342(1) which mandates to specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory as the case may be. Thus the list of Scheduled Tribes is State/UT specific and a community declared as a Scheduled Tribe in a State need not be so in another State. The Presidential notifications under Clause 1 of Article 342 of the Constitution are issued as the Constitution Orders. Two Constitution Orders were initially issued in relation to two distinct categories of States as existed at the time of adoption of the Constitution of India. These are:
||Name of the Order
||Date of notification or the Order
||Name (s) of State (s)/UT(s) for which the Order is applicable (as existed on the date of notification)
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Part C States) Order, 1951
(Constitution Order 33)
2. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Part C States) Order, 1951
(Constitution Order 33) 20.9.1951 Ajmer, Bhopal, Coorg, Himachal Pradesh, Kutch, Manipur, Tripura and Vindhya Pradesh
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950
(Constitution Order 22)
||Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Orissa, Punjab, West Bengal, Hyderabad, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Rajasthan, Saurashtra and Travancore-Cochin
Whether Constitution Orders specifying Scheduled Tribes have been amended?
Consequent upon re-organisation of the States in 1956 vide the States Re-Organisation Act, 1956, (Act 37 of 1956) the above two Constitutional Orders were amended vide Section 4(i) and 4(ii) respectively of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1956 (Act No. 63 of 1956) dated 25th September 1956). In pursuance of section 41 of the States Reorganisation Act and section 14 of the Bihar and West Bengal (Transfer of Territories) Act, 1956 (40 of 1956), the President issued the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 was modified vide Section 3(1) of the List Modification Order, 1956 while The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Part C States) Order was modified vide Section 3(2) of the List Modification Order, 1956.
First Backward Classes Commission (headed by Kaka Kalelkar) was setup in 1955 In view of the demands from various quarters for specification of OBCs. The Kalelkar Commission submitted its report in 1956. This Commission recommended for inclusion of Scheduled Tribes also as OBCs. Besides, to look into the demand for specification of new communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes through the process of amendment of the Constitution Scheduled Tribe Orders an Advisory Committee on Revision of lists of SCs & STs (Lokur Committee) was setup in 1965. Thereafter a draft Bill for amendment of the Constitution Orders introduced in Parliament was referred to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 1967 (Chanda Committee). The following essential characteristics for a community to be identified as a Scheduled Tribe were accepted:
(i) Primitive way of life and habitation in remote and less easily accessible areas,
(ii) Distinctive culture,
(iii) Shyness of contact with the community at large,
(iv) Geographical isolation, and
(v) General backwardness in all respects.
Keeping in view the above criteria and considering the demands for inclusion of several communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes the Constitution Orders were comprehensively amended vide the Constitution the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 (No. 108 of 1976) while new Constitution Orders were also issued in respect of certain States.
Revised procedure for inclusion in or exclusion from the list of Scheduled Tribes
The following modalities have been laid down for deciding the claims for inclusion in or exclusion from the lists of Scheduled Tribes in June, 1999:-
- Only those claims that have been agreed to by the concerned State Government, the Registrar General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes are taken up for consideration.
- Whenever representations are received in the Ministry for inclusion of any community in the list of Scheduled Tribes of a State/UT, the Ministry forwards that representation to the concerned State Government/UT Administration for recommendation as required under Article 342 of the Constitution.
- If the concerned State Government recommends the proposal, the same is sent to the Registrar General of India (RGI) for their comments/views.
- The RGI, if satisfied with recommendation of the State Government, recommends the proposal to the Central Government.
- Thereafter, the Government refers the proposal to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes for their recommendation.
- If the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes also recommends the case, the matter is processed for the decision of the Cabinet after consulting the concerned administrative Ministries. Thereafter the matter is put up before the Parliament in the form of a bill to amend the Presidential Order.
- Claims for inclusion, exclusion or other modifications that neither the RGI nor the concerned State Governments have supported would not be referred to the National Commission. These would be rejected at the level of the Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment.
- In case, there is disagreement between the views of the State Government and the RGI, the views of the RGI are sent to the State Government for reviewing or further justifying their recommendation. On receipt of the further clarification from the State Government/Union Territory Administration, the proposal is again referred to the RGI for comments. In such cases, where the RGI does not agree to the point of view of the State Government/UT Administration on a second reference, the Government of India may consider rejection of the said proposal.
- Similarly, those cases where the State Government and the RGI favour inclusion/exclusion, but not supported by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes are also rejected.
- Claims recommended suo-moto by the National Commission would be referred to RGI and the State Governments. Depending on their responses, they would be disposed of in accordance with the modalities indicated above as may be applicable.
A list of all the Constitution Orders and Amendment Acts passed so far is given in the ANNEXURE-1
How many Scheduled Tribes have been identified so far?
There are over 700 tribes (with overlapping communities in more than one State) which have been notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India, spread over different States and Union Territories of the country. The largest number of main tribal communities (62) has been specified in relation to the State of Orissa. The Scheduled Tribes have been specified in relation to all the States and Union Territories except Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Pondicherry.
What are the Rights of Scheduled Tribes?
The Constitution of India seeks to secure for all its citizens, among other things, social and economic justice, equality of status and opportunity and assures the dignity of the individual. All Rights available to the Citizens of India, enshrined in the Constitution or any law of the land or any order of the Government are equally available to the Scheduled Tribes also.
Are there any privileges or special rights for Scheduled Tribes?
Scheduled Tribes being backward and isolated from the rest of the population are not able to exercise their rights. In order to empower them to be able to exercise their rights special provisions have been made in the Constitution. Framers of the Constitution took note of this fact and incorporated enabling provisions in the Constitution in the form of reservation and measures to be taken to empower them to be able to avail the opportunities. Some people call these provisions as privileges for the Scheduled Tribes but these are only the enabling provisions so that Scheduled Tribes can avail the opportunities and exercise their rights and safeguards.
What are the Constitutional provisions for development of Scheduled Tribes?
Article 46 of the Constitution provides that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. Reservation in educational institution has been provided in Article 15(4) while reservation in posts and services has been provided in Article 16(4), 16(4A) and 16(4B) of the Constitution. Several other provisions have also been incorporated in the Constitution for safeguarding and promoting the interests and rights of the Scheduled Tribes in various spheres so as to enable them to join the national mainstream.
Article 23 which prohibits traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar forms of forced labour has a special significance for Scheduled Tribes. In pursuance of this Article, Parliament has enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. Similarly, Article 24 which prohibits employment of Children below the age of 14 years in any factory or mine or in any other hazards activity is also significant for Scheduled Tribes as a substantial portion of child labour engaged in these jobs belong to Scheduled Tribes. Other specific safeguards have been provided in Article 244 read with the provisions contained in Fifth and Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. Other provisions are:
- Article 164(1) provides that in the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa there shall be a Minister in charge of tribal welfare who may in addition be in charge of the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and backward classes or any other work.
- Article 243D provides reservation of Seats for Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats.
- Article 330 provides reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People.
- Article 332 provides reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in Legislative Assemblies of the States.
- Article 334 provides that reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas (and the representation of the Anglo-Indian Community in the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas by nomination) would continue up to January, 2020.
- Article 371A has special provisions with respect to the State of Nagaland.
- Article 371B has special provisions with respect to the State of Assam.
- Article 371C has special provisions with respect to the State of Manipur.
- Article 371F has special provisions with respect to Sikkim.
What are the institutional Safeguards for Scheduled Tribes?
Special Officer (Commissioner) for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Framers of the Constitution were aware for effective implementation of various safeguards provided in the Constitution for the SCs & STs and various other protective legislations, the Constitution provided for appointment of a Special Officer under Article 338 of the Constitution. The Special Officer who was designated as Commissioner for SCs & STs was assigned the duty to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards for SCs and STs in various statutes and to report to the President upon the working of these safeguards. The first Commissioner for SCs & STs was appointed on 18 November, 1950.
Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
On persistent demand from the Members of Parliament and other quarters that the Office of the Commissioner for SCs & STs alone was not enough to monitor the implementation of Constitutional safeguards, a proposal was moved for amendment of Article 338 of the Constitution for replacing the arrangement of one Member system with a multi-member system. While the amendment to Article 338 was still under consideration, the Government decided to set up a multi-member Commission through an administrative decision vide Ministry of Home Affairs’ Resolution No.13013/9/77-SCT(1) dated 21.7.1978. The first Commission for SCs & STs was set up in August, 1978 with Shri Bhola Paswan Shastri as Chairman and other four Members.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Advisory)
The Commission for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes was renamed as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Vide Ministry of Welfare’s Resolution No. BC-13015/12/86-SCD VI dated 1.9.87. This Resolution also demarcated the functions of the Commissioner for SCs & STs, and the National Commission for SCs & STs. It was decided that only the Commissioner for SCs & STs would be submitting the Report to the President and that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes would conduct studies and would function as a National Level Advisory Body to advise the Government on broad policy issues and levels of development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and would submit its Report to the Central Government.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Constitutional)
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was conferred Constitutional status consequent upon passing of the Constitution (Sixty- fifth Amendment) Act, 1990 . The Rules relating to appointment of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members of NCSCST and condition of their service were notified on 3-11-1990 and the first Constitutional National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution (Sixty-fifth Amendment) Act was constituted on 12-3-1992 and from the same date the Office of Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was abolished.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Article 338 of the Constitution was again amended and a new Article 338A was also inserted in the Constitution vide the Constitution (Eighty-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2003 which came into force on 19-02-2004 vide Notification dated 19-02-2004. Consequent upon amendment of Article 338 the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes ceased to exist and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes was setup under the provision of amended Article 338 and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes came into existence under the provision of new Article 338A.
What are the Functions and Duties of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes?
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been created by inserting the new Article 338A in the Constitution of India. Article 338A, inter-alia, enjoins upon the NCST to monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution or under any other law or under any order of the Government, and to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State, and to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards. The Duties assigned to the Commission under 338A(5) are as given below:
(a) To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
(b) To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes;
(c) To participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes 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 effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes, and
(f) To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been assigned certain additional functions vide the Ministry of Tribal Affairs Notification dated 23.8.2005 in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (f) of Clause (5) of Article 338A. These duties relate to measures to be taken:
(i) to confer ownership rights in respect of minor forest produce to STs living in forest areas.
(ii) to safeguarding the rights of the tribal communities over mineral resources, water resources etc. as laid down by law.
(iii) to plug loopholes and to work more viable livelihood strategies.
(iv) to improve the efficacy of relief and rehabilitation measures for tribal groups displaced by development projects.
(v) to prevent alienation of tribal people from land and to effectively rehabilitate such people in whose case alienation has already taken place.
(vi) to elicit maximum cooperation and involvement of tribal communities for protecting forests and undertaking social afforestation.
(vii) to ensure full implementation of the provision of Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
(viii) to reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of shifting cultivation by tribal that lead to their continuous disempowerment and degradation of land and the environment.
What is the composition of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes?
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and three other Members. At least one other Member shall be appointed from amongst women. The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members of the Commission are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the other Members shall hold office for a term of three years from the date on which he/ she assumes such office.
What are the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes?
The conditions of service and tenure of office of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes are governed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Members (Conditions of Service and Tenure) Rules, 2004 notified by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs on 20 February 2004. These Rules, inter alia, provide that:
The Chairperson shall be appointed from amongst eminent social-political workers belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, who inspire confidence amongst the Scheduled Tribes by their very personality and record of selfless service;
- The Vice-Chairperson and all other Members out of whom at least two shall be appointed from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Tribes;
- At least one other Member shall be appointed from amongst women.
- The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the other Members shall hold office for a term of three years from the date on which he/ she assumes such office.
- The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the other Members shall not be eligible for appointment for more than two terms.
- The Chairperson shall have the rank of a Cabinet Minister and the Vice-Chairperson that of Minister of State and other Members shall have the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India unless otherwise specified.
(vii)The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and other Members shall be entitled to such salaries and allowances as admissible to a Secretary to the Government of India.
Provided that the Chairperson shall be entitled to a rent free accommodation.
When was the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes constituted?
The first National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), constituted in March, 2004, comprised Shri Kunwar Singh, Chairperson (who assumed office on 15.3.2004), Shri Tapir Gao, Vice-Chairperson (who assumed office on 3.3.2004), Shri Lama Lobzang, (who assumed office on 2.3.2004) Smt. Prem Bai Mandavi, (who assumed office on 4.3.2004) and Shri Buduru Srinivasulu, (who assumed office on 11.3.2004) Members. The office of Vice-Chairperson had fallen vacant w.e.f. 31.3.2004 consequent upon resignation of Shri Tapir Gao and was vacant till 29.5.2006 on which date Shri Gajendra Singh Rajukhedi joined the office of Vice-Chairperson. While Shri Kunwar Singh, Chairperson resigned from his office on 14.2.2007 (A/N), the Members of the first Commission i.e. NCST demitted their respective office after completion of their three years tenure in the month of March, 2007. Shri Gajendra Singh Rajukhedi also resigned from the office of Vice-Chairperson on 15.05.2007.
The second commission comprised of Smt. Urmila Singh, as Chairperson, Shri Maurice Kujur as Vice Chairperson, Shri Tsering Samphel, and Shri Oris Syiem Myriaw, as Members. Smt. Urmila Singh assumed office on 18.06.2007 and resigned on 24.01.2010 consequent upon her appointment as Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Maurice Kujur, Vice Chairperson remained in office from 25.04.2008 to 24.04.2011, Shri Tsering Samphel, Member who assumed office on 14.06.2007 demitted his office on 13.06.2010. Similarly Shri Oris Syiem Myriaw, Member, who assumed office on 17.04.2008 demitted his office on 16.04.2011 after completion of three year term.
In the third Commission, Dr. Rameshwar Oraon, assumed office of Chairperson on 28.10.2010,Smt. K. Kamala Kumari, assumed office of Member on 21.07.2010 while Shri Bheru Lal Meena, assumed office of Member on 28.10.2010. The posts of Vice chairperson and one Member in the Commission remained vacant. Smt. K. Kamla Kumari demitted Office after completion of her three-year tenure on 20/07/2013. Similarly, after completion of their respective three year terms Dr. Rameshwar Oraon, Chairperson demitted his office on 27/10/2013 and Shri Bheru Lal Meena, Member demitted his Office on 28/10/2013 (FN).
Dr. Rameshwar Oraon has been re-appointed with 2nd term of three years as Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. Similarly Smt. K. Kamla Kumari and Shri Bheru Lal Meena, were also re-appointed with 2nd term of three years as Members of the Commission. All of them assumed the respective Offices on 01/11/2013. Shri Ravi Thakur, MLA in Himachal Pradesh Assembly has been appointed as Vice-Chairperson of the Commission. Shri Ravi Thakur has assumed the office on 13/11/2013. Due to sudden demise of Smt K.Kamla Kumari on 17/07/2014 and Shri Bheru Lal Meena on 19/08/2014, the posts of Members have fallen vacant.
Organizational Set-Up of the NCST
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes functions from the Headquarters located at New Delhi and its six Regional Offices. The main Headquarter Secretariat is located at 6th floor, ‘B’ Wing, Loknayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi-110003
There are following six Units at the Hqrs.:
||Official Language Unit
||Research Unit - I
||Research Unit - II
||Research Unit – III
||Research Unit – IV
The main functional units are Research Unit-I, Research Unit-II, Research Unit-III, Research Unit-IV, which deal with all matters pertaining to socio-economic and educational development, service safeguards and atrocities in relation to STs as per distribution of the Ministries/ Departments (including CPSEs and other Organisations/ Offices under their administrative control) and the States and UTs among these four Research Units. Coordination Unit is responsible for maintaining coordination with other units in matters relating to Parliament, RTI, Research and Annual Report of the Commission. Organisational Chart of the Headquarter Office is available on our website.
There are 6 Regional offices of the National Commission for Scheduled tribes which deal with grievance and other matters relating violation of rights or safeguarding the rights of the Scheduled Tribes living in the States and UTs within the jurisdiction of the Regional Office. The Regional Offices also keep a watch on the formulation of policy and issue of guidelines relating to the welfare of Scheduled Tribes in the States/UTs and keep the Commission’s Headquarters informed about the developments periodically. Policy decisions taken by any State Government/UT Administration affecting the interests of the Scheduled Tribes are brought to the notice of the concerned authorities for necessary action. The Regional Offices of the Commission are required to interact with the State Administrations and guide them with a view to see that the interests of the Scheduled Tribes are protected and promoted while in formulating plans and policies. The Regional Offices also monitor the utilization of funds earmarked for plans pertaining to Scheduled Tribes including keeping a watch on diversion of funds from Tribal Sub- Plan. The Regional offices are required to liaise with the State Governments and UT Administrations for taking up evaluation and other studies in the concerned States/ UTs to assess the working of various development programmes implemented for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes and their impact on ameliorating the socio-economic conditions of the target groups. The findings of the studies are brought to the notice of the concerned State Government for taking remedial measures.
Each of the Regional Offices sends periodic Reports to the Commission Hqrs. on the activities undertaken by them highlighting major issues relating to welfare of Scheduled Tribes in each States/UT under their jurisdiction. These reports contain useful information about the developments in a State and enable the Commission to have an overall view in respect of various States as well as national situation for recommending suitable suggestions to the Government for taking appropriate action.
Procedure adopted by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Empowered under Article 338A(4) of the Constitution, the Commission has framed its Rules of Procedure and strives to fulfill its mandate by following the Rules of Procedure.
Approach and Methodology adopted by the Commission
The Commission receives a large number of representations from individual members of Scheduled Tribes or their associations etc. These representations/petitions either pertain to (i) the violation of the reservation instructions in services, (ii) problems relating to the socio-economic development of Scheduled Tribes such as admission in educational institutions, land alienation matters etc. and (iii) atrocities on members of Scheduled Tribes by non-Scheduled Tribe persons. These representations are referred to the concerned organizations of the Central Govt. or the State Governments by the Commission requesting them to furnish full facts within a given timeframe. The facts furnished by the concerned organization are examined by the Commission and in case the Commission feels that there has been violation of the safeguards provided to the members of Scheduled Tribes either in the Constitution or under any other law or order of the Government, it advises the concerned organization to take corrective measures. The concerned organizations are advised to take follow up action on the Commission's recommendations/observations within a given timeframe and apprise the Commission of the action taken position. In case there is no response to the Commission's letter within a reasonable period of time, the Commission calls the senior executive(s) of the concerned organization to appear before the Commission and explain their position with reference to the points raised in the petitions. The minutes of these hearings are recorded after the conclusion of the discussions either on the same day or within a week's time thereafter and a copy thereof sent to them for taking appropriate action and to inform the Commission of the action taken by them on its advice within a given timeframe.
- Whenever information is received in the Commission about any incident of atrocity against a person belonging to Scheduled Tribes, the Commission immediately gets in touch with the law enforcing and administrative machinery of the concerned State and the district to ascertain the details of incident and the action taken by the district administration. The Commission ensures the following while by monitoring and issuing instructions to the concerned authorities:
- Whether the scene of occurrence of the crime has been visited immediately by Collector and Supdt. of Police of the district on receipt of information.
- Whether proper FIR is registered in local Police Station.
- Whether names of all the persons involved/cited by the complainant has been included in the FIR.
- Whether investigation has been taken up by a Senior Police Officer as per provisions of Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
- Whether culprit has been apprehended and booked without loss of time.
- Whether proper charge sheet has been filed mentioning the relevant sections of IPC together with the SCs & STs (POA) Act, 1989 in the Court.
- Whether the cases are tried by the Special Courts.
- Whether Special Public Prosecutors have been appointed to handle these cases.
- Whether Police assists the courts in bringing forward witnesses and see that the culprits are suitably punished by the courts.
The Commission, wherever possible and depending upon the gravity and circumstances of the case, also visit the place of incident to oversee the arrangements, in particular the action taken by the State Govt. to provide the necessary relief and rehabilitation to the victims of the atrocities or their family members and also the arrangements made by the State Govt. for treatment of the injured and infuse confidence among the victims. The Commission also monitors to ensure that:
- the victims are provided with suitable medical assistance and on time;
- adequate protection is arranged for the victims of such incidents by providing police protection by stationing a police party, by patrolling, etc;
- proper compensation is paid to the victims as per provisions of law.
Procedure for Inquiry
As provided in Sub-Clause (b) of Clause 5 of Article 338A of the Constitution, the Commission is required to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and violation of safeguards of Scheduled Tribes. In order to enable the Commission to perform this function within manageable limits, the Commission would like to appeal to members of Scheduled Tribes that before submitting any specific complaint to the Commission for redress of their grievances they should clearly state if and how there has been a violation of their rights and safeguards. The Commission would not like to be burdened with flimsy or irrelevant complaints.
A large number of representations are regularly received from ST employees working in Government Departments, public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies. The Commission would like them to know that it will be in a position to inquire into their service grievances only if there has been a violation of any provision of the Acts governing reservation in services and posts for Scheduled Tribes (wherever there are such Acts in position) or the orders contained in the brochures relating to reservation matters issued by the Department of Personnel & Training, Department of Public Enterprises in relation to the public sector undertakings, the Banking Division of the Department of Financial Services (Ministry of Finance) with reference to the financial institutions, etc.
The following aspects are required to be kept in mind while filing complaints before the Commission:-
- The complaint should be directly addressed to the Chairman/Vice-Chairman/Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, New Delhi. No action will be taken on petitions/representations, which are addressed to other authorities with only an endorsement to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
- The complainants should disclose their full identity and give full address and should sign the representation. No action will be taken on an unsigned complaint.
- Complaints should be legibly written or typed and, where necessary, supported by authenticated documents.
- No action will be taken in cases which are subjudice or in which a court has already given its final verdict and, therefore, such cases need not be referred to the Commission.
(e)The Commission will also not intervene in vigilance and disciplinary cases as no safeguards have been provided to the employees belonging to Scheduled Tribes in such matters and also that the Commission is not an appellate authority in such cases and that there is an elaborate well-defined procedure prescribed in respective service rules for making an appeal for reconsideration by the competent authorities. If the Commission, however, finds that the prescribed procedure in disciplinary/ vigilance matters has not been followed and the petitioner, on that count, has been put to disadvantage or that the quantum of punishment is disproportionate to the gravity of the offence or that the petitioner has been put to harassment on account of his belonging to Scheduled Tribe etc., the Commission may entertain the petitions from the aggrieved ST officers and take up the matter with the concerned organization.
(f)The Commission will also not generally intervene in matters pertaining to merits of adverse remarks in the Annual Confidential Reports of the officers/officials as no safeguards have been provided to the employees belonging to Scheduled Tribes in the assessment of their performance and also that there is a prescribed procedure to represent against the adverse remarks to the competent authorities.
(g)No concessions in the matter of transfer and postings have been provided to the ST officers holding Group A and Group B posts and, therefore, the Commission will not entertain the petitions relating to grievances arising from transfer of such officers from one office to another office of the same organization in the same city or from one station to another station. However, if the Commission finds that the transfer of the said ST officer has been made in clear violation of the transfer policy (if there is any in that organization) or it has been made with a view to harass the officer only on the ground that he belongs to a weaker section like Scheduled Tribe, it may entertain the petitions from the aggrieved ST officers and take up the matter with the concerned organization.
Powers of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
While investigating the matters referred to in sub-clause (a) or inquiring into any complaint referred to in sub-clause (b) of clause 5, the Commission have all the powers of a Civil Court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:-
- 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 documents;
- Receiving evidence on affidavits
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
- Issuing summons/communications for the examination of witnesses and documents;
- Any other matters which the President may by rule determine.
Review of programmes
In order to monitor and evaluate the implementation status of various development schemes, and investigation and disposal of the cases of atrocities (on the members of Scheduled Tribes) by the police authorities and the courts, the Commission interacts with the State/UT Governments by holding detailed State level review meetings with the Chief Secretaries and other senior officers through visits to the States and UTs. These meetings are generally preceded with visits to the tribal Bastis, hostels, Ashram Schools etc. and interactions with them on the impact of the developmental projects. The Commission also undertake review meetings with the district level officers to assess the impact of the developmental schemes, and investigation of the cases of atrocities on members of Scheduled Tribes and advises them to take a series of remedial action for better and more effective implementation of the projects with a view to ensure the flow of benefits to all the tribals including those living in inaccessible areas and also to expedite the investigation and disposal of the atrocity cases and the cases relating to land alienation etc. pending either with the district administration or in the courts.
Consultation by the Union and State Governments with the Commission:
In accordance with clause 9 of Article 338A of the Constitution, the Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting Scheduled Tribes. In pursuance to this constitutional provision the Cabinet Secretariat, vide OM dated 16/02/2012 have issued the following directives to all the Ministries and Departments of the Union Government:
The sponsoring Ministries/Departments are advised to ensure that the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes, and the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes, as the case may be, shall mandatorily be consulted by them through the Ministry/Department administratively concerned with the Commission before finalization of such notes for consideration of the Cabinet/Cabinet Committees. In all such cases, the administrative Ministry/Department concerned will place the views of the concerned National Commission, as the case may be, as received by them, before the Minister-in-charge of the Ministry/Department before their final views/comments on such issues are communicated to the sponsoring Ministry/ Department. It has also been decided that the unabridged/unedited views of the concerned Commission along with the views of the Ministry/Department administratively concerned with the Commission be included in/enclosed with the note for consideration of the Cabinet/Cabinet Committees along with responses thereon by the sponsoring Ministry/Department.
Annual Reports of the Commission
Clause 5(d) of Article 338A mandates the Commission “to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards” and Clause 5(e) provides “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 Tribes.”
Clause 6 of Article 338A provides that, “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 such recommendations.
Clause 7 of Article 338A provides that, “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 along with a Memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the State and the reasons for non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.
As per provision of Clause 5(d) of 338A of the Constitute it is the duty of the Commission to present annually a report upon the working of Constitutional safeguards and measures taken by the Union and the States for the protection and welfare of the Scheduled Tribes. In this series the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has so far submitted Eight Reports to the President of India. These include Seven Annual Reports and one Special Report. Ist report which related to the period 2004-05 & 2005-06 was submitted on 08 August 2006, the 2nd Report for 2006-07 has been submitted on 3rd September, 2008 while 3rd Report for 2007-08 has been submitted on 29th March, 2010 and Fourth Report for 2008-09 was submitted to the President on 27th August 2010. Fifth Report for 2009-10 was submitted on 13th July, 2011. Thereafter, the Commission submitted to the President on 18-06-2012 a Special Report titled "Good Governance for Tribal Development and Administration". The Commission submitted its Sixth Report for the period 2010-11 to the President on 25th October, 2013 and Seventh Report for the period 2011-12 on 20/02/2015. In fulfilment of the provision under Clause 6 of Article 338A of the Constitution Government has so far laid in both Houses of Parliament, only three Reports, viz; First, Second and Special Report of the Commission. All these Reports are available on the Website of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (http//:ncst.nic.in). These reports are also available on the Website of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (http//:tribal.gov.in). Those reports, which have not been laid in both Houses of Parliament, cannot be made public.
For any enquiry or complaint write to:
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes,
6th Floor, Loknayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi-110003
For Telephone Directory and Email details of Officials of Headquarter and Regional Offices, you may visit our website http://www.ncst.gov.in. For making any suggestion you can give your feedback in our website.
||Name of order
||Date of Notification
||Name of States/ UTs for which applicable
||The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 (No. 6 of 2014)
||Andhra Pradesh and Telengana
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2013 (No. 24 of 2013)
||Kerala and Chhattisgarh
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2012 (No. 24 of 2012)
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2011 (No. 2 of 2012)
||Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Union Territories) Order (Amendment) Act, 2008 (No. 2 of 2009)
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2008 (No. 14 of 2008)
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2006 (No. 48 of 2006)
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2003 (No. 47 of 2003)
||The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 2002 (No. 10 of 2003)
||Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, West Bengal, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim
||The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2002 (No. 32 of 2002)
||The Bihar Reorganization Act, 2000 (No. 30 of 2000)
||Bihar & Jharkhand
||The Uttar Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2000 (No. 29 of 2000)
||Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand
||The Madhya Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2000 (No. 28 of 2000)
||Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Act, 1991 (No. 39 of 1991)
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 1991 (No. 36 of 1991)
||Jammu & Kashmir
||The Constitution (Jammu & Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989 (C.O.142)
||Jammu & Kashmir
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 1987 (No. 43 of 1987)
||The Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1978 (C.O.111)
||Corrigendum to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Act, 1976
||The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 (No. 108 of 1976)
||Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands
||North Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Act, 1971
||Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh
||The State of Himachal Pradesh Act, 1970
||The Constitution (Nagaland) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1970 (C.O.88)
||The Constitution (Goa, Daman and Diu) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1968
||Goa, Daman & Diu
||The Constitution (Uttar Pradesh) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1967 (C.O.78)
||Uttar Pradesh/ Uttarakhand
||The Constitution (Dadra & Nagar Haveli) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1962 (C.O.65)
||Dadra & Nagar Haveli
||The Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960 (No. 11 of 1960)
||Maharashtra & Gujarat
||The Constitution (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1959 (C.O.58)
||Andaman & Nicobar Islands
||Corrigenda to the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956
||The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956
||Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Kerala, Madras, Mysore, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura & the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands
||The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1956 (Act No. 63 of 1956)
||Andhra, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Orissa, Punjab, West Bengal, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Travancore-Cochin, Ajmer, Bhopal, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and Vindhya Pradesh
||The Andhra State Act, 1953
||The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Union Territories) Order, 1951 (C.O.33)
||Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep
1. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order 1950 (C.O.22) 06.9.1950 Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.
||Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.