SC seeks replies of Centre, UP on plea for filling up vacancies at national, state SC/ST panels

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New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday asked the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to reply to a plea seeking appointment of chairperson and others members in national panels for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and in the UP SC/ST commission.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took note of an Allahabad-based organisation's PIL that there were several vacancies in National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and Uttar Pradesh SC and ST Commission at a time when the atrocities against these communities are rampant. “Issue notice,” ordered the bench which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian in the proceedings conducted through video conferencing.

The top court also issued notices to NCSC, NCST and the UP commission.

Advocate Rajesh Inamdar, appearing for 'Peoples Charioteer Organisation (PCO)', said several posts including that of Chairman, Vice Chairman and members were lying vacant at NCSC and NCST for almost ten months, while some positions in the UP panel were vacant since 2019.

'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,” the plea said.

It said due to vacancies at key positions, the panels have failed in their duties of providing reliefs in cases related to atrocities on members of SC/ST communities. These commissions have also 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, it said.

The PIL has sought a direction to the Centre and the UP government to appoint office bearers in these commissions and further ask the panels to publish the Annual Reports within a reasonable time.

In NCSC, the posts of Chairman, Vice Chairman and the posts of three members are lying vacant. Similarly, the posts of Chairman, Vice Chairman and a member is vacant in NCST as well. PTI SJK MNL PKS SA