The Supreme Court directed the Centre on Monday to fill up three vacancies, including that of the Chairperson, in the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) within three months.
A bench of Chief Jusice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud asked the government “to fill up the three posts within the given time under all circumstances” and disposed of a PIL seeking appointments in NCST alleging that the body had become non-functional due to the positions lying vacant for several years.
The bench granted the time after Additional Solicitor General PS Patwalia, appearing for the Centre, submitted that three posts have been already filled through a Presidential Order of December 30, 2016 and the remaining would be filled within three months.
The ASG informed the court that Anusuiya Uikey has been appointed as the Vice Chairperson and Hari Krishna Damodar and Harshadbhai Chunilal as members of the NCST.
The PIL filed by advocate Radhakanta Tripathi, who deals with issues pertaining to Scheduled Tribes, had alleged that the entire commission was defunct and become a non-entity before the eyes of law as positions in the panel, created by a constitutional amendment, had been lying vacant for years.
It had said the consequences of non-appointment of members who are to assist and resolve issues relating to the people belonging to Scheduled Tribes had adverse effect for inclusive growth of India. “Plans, proposals for uplift of tribal, eradication of Naxalism and vision of inclusive growth cannot fructify unless their issues are dealt with on utmost priority,” it had said.
The plea had also said the Centre had taken a number of steps for the social, economic and educational uplift of Scheduled Tribes and special schemes for their betterment and these issues are to be monitored and taken care of by NCST. “Non-appointment of members has made the ambition of the government for social, economic and educational uplift of Scheduled Tribe community, futile and unreachable,” it said.