NCSC seeks explanation from IIT-M

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has sought an explanation from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras for derecognising the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle.

  • If the IIT-M is found to be in violation of the law, especially the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the commission could instruct the police to register an FIR.

Why?

Recently, the IIT-M de-recognised the study circle on the premise that it had violated guidelines while organising a meeting in which some literature — critical of the Narendra Modi government and with potential to spread hatred among communities — was circulated.

About National Commission for Scheduled Castes:

It is a constitutional body established with a view to provide safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Castes. To promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests, special provisions were made in the Constitution.

Background:

  • In order to ensure that the safeguards provided to SCs and STs are properly implemented, the Constitution on its inception provided for appointment of a special office under Article 338 of the Constitution to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes and report to the President about the working of these safeguards. In pursuance of this provision a Special Officer known as the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes was appointed for the first time on 18th November, 1950.
  • A proposal was mooted for amendment of Article 338 of the Constitution (46th Amendment) by replacing the single member Special Officer by multi-member system. The first Commission for SC & ST came into being on August, 1978.
  • The setup of the Commission of 1978 underwent change in 1987 and it was named as National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This Commission being a National Level Advisory body played the role of adviser on major policy and developmental issues relating to SCs/STs
  • Later, through the 89th Amendment of the Constitution it was decided to have a separate National Commission for Scheduled Castes & separate National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. This came into effect in 2004.
  • Thus, the erstwhile National Commission for SCs & STs was bifurcated into two different Commissions.

Functions of the commission:

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this 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;
  • To inquire 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; and
  • 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 rule specify.

The Commission consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members. They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. Their conditions of service and tenure of office are also determined by the president. The commission presents an annual report to the president.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

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