National Commission for Scheduled Castes


The National Commission for Scheduled Castes came into existence after the 65th Amendment Bill got passed in the Parliament, in the year 1990. The Bill was notified on the 8th of June, in 1990, while the rules came into being after the 3rd of November, 1990. On March 12, 1992, the first Commission under the 65th Amendment Act of the Constitution, was created. This Commission replaced the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes was established under the Ministry of Welfare Resolution, 1987. The first chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, India was Shri. Ram Dhan, while the vice-chairmanship was held by Shri. Bandi Oraon.

One of the chief reasons behind setting up of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes in India was to lessen the suffering of the backward classes from extreme social discrimination. These social discriminations arose due to the age-old beliefs and practices like, untouchability, primitive agricultural actions, inadequate infrastructural amenities as well as isolation due to geographic conditions. For the wholesome development of the nation, it was essential that these Backward Classes were provided special assistance and help from the government of India. These classes are since then referred to as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, according to the Clause 1 of the Articles 341 and 342 of the Indian Constitution.

The Indian Constitution has taken many steps to enhance the social, economic, cultural and educational interests of these classes. In order to offer the backward classes an equal share in the government offices, schools, colleges and other educational institutions, special reservations has been followed ever since. A special officer was also been appointed under the Article 338, whose job was to take care of the interests and solving the problems related to the SCs and the STs of India. The officer reported directly to the President of India regarding the measures taken for the safeguard of the backward communities of the country. In addition to this, 17 officers were also appointed on the regional level, who functioned under the Commissioner for SCs and STs.

The Commissioner for SCs and STs was not enough for the improvement of the status of the backward classes and this point was repeatedly contested by the Members of the Parliament. The one-member system was then replaced by a multi-member system, in accordance with the Ministry of Home Affairs' Resolution No. 13013/9/77-SCT(1), dated 21st of July, 1978. The first Commission for SCs and STs came into existence in the month of August, in 1978. The first chairman of the Commission was named Shri Bhola Paswan Shastri. Initially, the field offices under the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were shifted under the DG backward groups. These field offices were later retrieved under the Commission.

The second National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was established on the 5th of October, in 1995. It was followed by the creation of the third and the fourth National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It was not till the year 2003 that the Commission was divided into two branches. These two branches got named as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. On 20th of February, in 2004, various rules regarding the National Commission for Scheduled Castes were compiled under the guidance of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes is also referred to as the Union Cabinet Minister. Whereas, the vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes India, has been provided the status of the Union Minister of State. Other members of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes are offered the rank of the Secretary under the Government of India.

Clause (5), (8) and (9) of Article 338 of the Indian Constitution offers guidelines regarding the duties and functions of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. The Commission is entitled to exercise powers of the Civil Court in various cases. There are 12 State offices of the Commission which is headquartered in New Delhi. The 4 functional wings of the Commission are:

  1. Atrocities and Protection of Civil Rights Wing
  2. Administration & Coordination Wing
  3. Economic & Social Development Wing
  4. Service Safeguards Wing


Last Updated on 28 September 2012