SC issues notice in plea seeking appointments of heads and members of NCSC and NCST

The Commissions have been without Chairpersons for many months now


The Supreme Court has issued notice on a plea seeking appointment of full time Chairman and other members to National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSC and NCST). The notice has been issued by a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde on a petition filed by an NGO called People’s Charioteer Organization.

As per a report by HT, the NCSC has been without a Chairperson since May. Although a quick glance of the NCSC website would give an impression that former MP Ram Shankar Katheria is still the Chairperson, the HT report states that his tenure ended in May, 2020 which means the Commission has been headless for 7 months now. The NCST website mentions that all member positions at the Commission, including the chairperson, are currently vacant. It was headed by BJP’s Nand Kumar Sai until February last year, which means the Commission has not performed any of its functions in the last 10 months.

In this background, the petition states that absence of crucial office-bearers means that these Commissions are being run by the bureaucracy which makes them toothless, ineffective and renders several victims of atrocities remediless, reported LiveLaw. It further states that the Commissions have thus become redundant and ephemeral thus failing their constitutional objectives and mandate for which they have been established.

The plea further states that due to these vacancies, these commissions have not provided any relief to SC-ST communities of India, further they have even failed to publish their annual reports from time to time. The last Annual report of the NCSC that is publicly available is for the year 2016-17 and for NCST the latest available Annual report is for the year 2015-16.

The petition states that the role of the commissions is pivotal as they are supposed to take into account issues faced by these communities and take action on the same such approach the courts for issuing writs to protect their interests and rights. The petitioner states that such acts/omissions on their part shows complete lack of empathy and seriousness towards the rights of SCs and STs which has proved catastrophic for the community which is being systematically targeted by anti-social elements.

The plea has urged the court to issue directions to the government to make the appointments and direct the Commissions to publish their annual reports within reasonable time.



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