Positions are vacant since last 10 months: Plea seeking appointments to be made to National SC and ST Commissions; Supreme Court issues notice

It was argued these Commissions have failed to provide any relief in matters relating to SCs and STs of India owing to the number of vacancies therein.
Positions are vacant since last 10 months: Plea seeking appointments to be made to National SC and ST Commissions; Supreme Court issues notice
National Commission for Scheduled Castes

The Supreme Court today issued notice on a plea seeking directions for the appointment of key members to the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and Scheduled Tribes (NCST).

Notice was issued by a Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The plea filed by the People's Charioteer Organization (PCO) through Advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Shashwat Anand, Amit Pai, and Faiz Ahmad, states that these Commissions have failed to provide any relief in matters relating to SCs and STs of India owing to the number of vacancies therein.

Inamdar argued that atrocities against the SC/ST community were on the rise. He said,

"These positions are vacant since 10 months. The Commissions which are constitutional bodies have become redundant. Cases of atrocities are rising and the UP body of SC/ST is vacant since 2019."

The plea seeks directions to the Central government to appoint a full-term Chairman, a Vice-Chairperson and other members of the NCSC under Article 338 of the Constitution and the same appointments for the NCST under Article 338A of the Constitution. The plea states,

"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."

The petition also prays for directions to the respective Commissions to publish the Annual Report of the NCSC, which has not been published since October 2017, and the Annual Report of the NCST, which has not been published for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 as of yet.

It is further prayed that directions be issued to the State of Uttar Pradesh to appoint the Chairman of the UP Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, under the relevant legislation.

The plea avers that members need to be appointed to the bodies, as 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.

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