Competitive Exams: Political Science Study Material Constitutional protection for the SCs or STs

Constitutional protection for the SCs or STs

The goal of establishing an egalitarian society is at the foundation of the Indian Constitution. Article 15 eliminates disability with regard to access to the public places. Article 16 provides equality of opportunity which is enriched by protective measures for the SCs/STs in matters of State employment and appointment. Article 17 abolishes untouchability and the accused has to prove his innocence. The property of these communities cannot be taken away unless specified authority permits the same [Art 19 (5) ].

Article 46 (Directive Principle) says that the interest of the SCs/STs must be protected. The President is empowered to draw the list of the SCs/STs in consultation with the Governor of each State subject to Parliamentary amendments (Arts 341 − 342). National Commission of the SCs/STs was set up by the 65th Amendment Act in 1990 (Art. 338).

The President may appoint a commission to review the functioning of the scheduled areas and the welfare of the STs in the areas. The President may direct a State to draw and execute schemes for the welfare of the STs. One of the criteria for extending the Central grants-in-aid of the States is the obligation of the latter to meet the cost of the welfare schemes for the SCs/STs. Special provisions are laid down in the 5th and 6th Schedules of the Constitution, which are read along with Art. 244 for the administration of areas inhabited by the STs. In States like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, there shall be Ministers in charge of welfare of the SCs/STs and OBCs. There are seats and constituencies reserved for the SCs/STs. It is a temporary provision that is being extended, so far, for every ten years.