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Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea For Appointment Of Full-Time Chairman, VC, Members Of National Commissions For SC, ST

Mehal Jain
8 Jan 2021 11:15 AM GMT
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The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on a plea seeking appointment of full-term Chairman, Vice-Chairman and other members of the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under Article 338 of the Constitution.

The PIL was filed by an NGO named People's Charioteer Organization through advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Shashwat Anand and Amit Pai.

The bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde issued notice on a petition by the Peoples Charioteer Organisation, submitting that in the instant case the office of the Chairmen/Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and also that of the members are vacant and in such situation the 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 the atrocities remediless. This makes these Commissions redundant and ephemeral, and thus, failing the very constitutional objectives and mandate for which they have been established.

Advocate Rajesh Inamdar for the petitioner-organisation advanced, "Posts in the National Commission, including that of Chairman, Vice Chairman, members lying vacant for past ten months. Atrocities against SC/ST are rising. In UP, posts vacant since 2019"
It is submitted, that in case the office of the Chairperson becomes vacant the duties of the Chairperson will be discharged by the Vice-Chairperson; similarly, if the office of the Vice Chairperson falls vacant the members can discharge such
functions. In the present case, there is neither the Chairperson/Chairman and the Vice-Chairperson, nor the members in both the NCSC and the NCST.
"In order to protect and safeguard the rights of the weakest sections of our society, the Constitution envisages the Article 338 and Article 338A, providing for the establishment of NCSC and NCST, respectively, providing duties under the sub-clauses (5) of the said Articles", it is averred.

The plea urges that owing to the glaring vacancies/non-appointment of the Chairmen/Chairpersons and key high-officers, these Commissions have failed to provide any relief in matters relating to the SCs and STs of India. Also, they have miserably failed in their duty of publishing their Annual Reports on the developments and working of the safeguards put in place, as to the SCs and STs of India.
"Such acts/omissions on their part shows the total lack of empathy and seriousness, as regards the rights of the SCs and STs and the redressal of the encroachment and transgressions of their rights, the result of which has proved catastrophic to the whole community which is extremely vulnerable and is now bearing the brunt of being targeted systematically by the anti-social elements", it is urged.
The plea asserts that the role of the Commissions as Constitutional bodies is pivotal in nature, as they take into account the issues related to SC and ST atrocities and action thereon is taken based on the complaints received. They can also, like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), approach the appropriate Court for injunction or mandamus to protect the interests of the SCs and STs.
"In addition to the same, little or no interest is being shown by the Commissions in publishing their Annual Reports, as more than 3 years have passed since the NCSC published its last Annual Report and the NCST is publishing reports of 2017-18 in the year 2020 which haven't been laid in the Parliament as of yet. The Twelfth Annual Report of the NCST for the year 2016- 17, also hasn't been laid in the Parliament as of yet", it is stressed.

Finally, it is pressed that it is picturesque, that it is utmost necessary and imperative, that the Court may direct the Central to make appointments of the respective Chairmen/Chairpersons in the concerned Commissions, as aforesaid, and further to direct the Central Government and thesaid Commissions to publish the Annual Reports, within a reasonable time, forthwith.

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