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New panel will be toothless: SC/ST leaders

The DMK government is set to pass a Bill to establish a State commission for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Published: 13th September 2021 03:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th September 2021 03:38 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

CHENNAI:  The DMK government is set to pass a Bill to establish a State commission for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. But after reading the tabled Bill, SC/ST leaders and activists fear the proposed commission could merely be a bureaucratic setup. They have urged the State government to ensure the new commission functions along the lines of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).

“The main concern with the Bill is that the chairperson should be a retired high court judge belonging to an SC or ST. But there have only been a few judges from these communities. Hence, most of the criteria cannot be fulfilled,” DMK MP Ravikumar told TNIE.

“Besides, the chairperson is to hold office till he attains the age of 70, and others till the age of 65. There is no upper age limit even for the NITI Aayog and NCSC. Hence, this would prevent eligible persons from holding the post and would severely affect the effectiveness of the commission. Hence, the State government considered changing the criteria,” he added.

As for the other members of the commission, he said the possibility of appointing persons from government service as members and member secretary would change the commission into a bureaucratic 
set-up. Former MLA and president of the Republic Party of India, Se Ku Tamilarasan told TNIE, “Though the establishment of the commission was delayed, we welcomed it. But the eligibility criteria are not fair. The tabled Bill stated that they shall hold office for three years and be eligible for re-nomination for a second term.”

Elaborating on his concern, he said, “The government should appoint them for either six years, or only three years, and should bar re-nominations. If they are eligible for re-nomination, they would indirectly be forced by the ruling party to favour it.” Most SC/ST activists expressed the view that as per the proposed Bill, the commission would be toothless. Hence, they are expecting the government to amend the Bill.



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