Sub: Request to giving Constitutional Protection and Privileges to Denotified & Nomadic Tribes of India, on similar lines as given to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (i.e. either by creating a separate Third Schedule or to create a supplementary list “B” to the existing list of S.T.), in the Constitution of India, by suitable notification of the Article 341 & 342 of the Constitution.
Most respected Sir,
I am introducing before your good self a very important issue of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes including Banjara in India. As you must know there are about 150 communities of Vimukti jaties (Ex criminal Tribes) having their population of approx.10 cores (100 million) in the Country. They have been branded as born criminals by a draconian law of British colonial Regime, in the form of Criminal Tribes Act in 1871. Since then these communities have been hounded, persecuted and hunted as criminals. No Government, so far at the centre, made any deep and comprehensive study about their Socio/Economic and Educational system and gave them any solid rehabilitation Programme. Now that we have been enjoying the fruits of democracy for the last more than 58 years, it is high time that some thought is also given towards these helpless people. Though much has been done for the SC/ST Communities nothing has been done for these poor Tribes men and their condition has gone from bad to worst.
To fortify their logical (main demand) we refer and rely upon relevant important documents, reports, expert, opinions, different Acts and papers for your kind cursory glance. On behalf of the Community it is our request to your good self to get the same thoroughly examined by the Competent Authorities of Government of India, specialized Institutions, other Organizations and Experts on the subject matter. These poor people of denotified and Nomedic Tribes only desire that long period of 58 years having already passed since Independence, they should be provided Constitutional protection and special privileges, similar to that of SCs and STs which have been denied to them all along. However, nothing concrete could be done in this direction and the Denotified and Nomadic Tribes in India have still not been brought in the National main stream. This community as Denotified and Nomadic Tribes should be categorized as a Third Schedule in the Constitution of the India. In this regard we submit the following proposals and materials:-
After the submission of the Mandal Commission and Indra Sahney Vs Government of India Judgment of Supreme Court now other Backward Classes (O.B.C) have come into existence in every state of India and at the Central Level. We suppose that in every State, there are lists of Nomadic Tribes and Denotified Tribes. Wherever these NT/DNTs are neither in the list of S.C. nor S.T., they are in the list of O.B.Cs. of the respective States. Nomadic Tribes and Denotified Tribes are poorer and weaker sections among the other Backward Classes. Therefore they need more protection in comparison with other Castes and Communities of the O.B.Cs. In this regard Hon. Supreme Court, in the case of Indra Sahney have very clearly directed the Central Government and State Governments that there should be categorization among the O.B.C. so that poor and weaker section can be given separate quota out of total quota of 27% for the OBCs.
So far as the categories of backward classes are concerned, it is true that Hon’ble Supreme Court, in its Judgment of Indira Sahney and others V/s Union of India and others, has very clearly suggested to the Government of India and State Governments that a large number of Castes, Communities and Groups enlisted under the OBC list are not having the same Socio, Economic and Political level of development. Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed and directed that there is a vast gap between one Caste and the other one. The relevant portion of the Hon'ble Supreme Court’s verdict will be relevant to be quoted here as:-
“ 92A”, we are of the opinion that there is no Constitutional or legal bar to State categorizing the Backward Classes as Backward and more Backward. We are not saying that it ought to be done. We are concerned with the question if a State makes such a categorization, whether it would be invalid? we think not. Let us take the criteria involved by the Mandal Commission. Any Caste, Group or Class which scored eleven or more points was treated as a Backward Class. Now it is not as if all the several thousands of Castes/Groups/Classes scored identical points. There may be some Castes /Groups/ Classes which have scored points between 20 to 22 and there may be some who have scored points between eleven and thirteen. It can not reasonably be denied that there is no difference between these two sets of Castes/Groups/ Classes. To give an illustration, take two occupational Groups viz. Goldsmiths and Vaddes (traditional stone cutters in Andhra Pradesh) both included within other Backward Classes. None can deny that Goldsmiths are far less backward than Vaddes. If both of them are ground together and reservation provided, the inevitable result would be that Goldsmiths would take away all the reserved points leaving none for Vaddes. In such a situation, a State may think it advisable to make a reservation even among other backward classes so as to ensure that the more backward among the Backward Classes obtain the benefits intended for them. Where to draw the line and how to effect the sub- classification is, however, is matter for the Commission and the State is so long as it is reasonably done, the Court may not intervene, In this connection, reference may be made to the categorization obtaining in Andhra Pradesh. The Backward Classes have been divided into four Categories. Group “A” comprises of Aboriginal Tribes, Vimukta Jaties, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes etc. Group “B” comprises professional group like Tappers, Weavers, Carpenters, Ironsmiths, Goldsmiths, and Kamsalines etc. Group “C” pertains to “Scheduled Castes converts to Christianity and their progeny”, while Group “D” comprises of all other Classes /Communities/ Groups, which are not included in Group A, B, and C. the 25% vacancies reserved for Backward Classes are sub-divided between them in proportion to their respective population. This categorization was justified in Bal Ram (1972 (3) SCR 247 at 286): (AIR 1972 SC 1375). This is merely to show that even among Backward Classes; there can be a sub- classification on a reasonable basis.
There is another way to looking at this issue. Article 16 (4) recognizes only one class viz., “Backward class of Citizens”. It does not speak separately of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, as does Article 15(4). Even so, it is beyond controversy that Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes are also included in the expression “Backward Class of Citizens” and that separate reservations can be provided in their favour. It is a well accepted phenomenon through out the Country, what is the logic behind it? It is that if scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and other Backward Classes are lumped together. OBC will take away all the Vacancies leaving Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes high and dry. The same logic also warrants categorization as between more backward and backward. We do not mean to say we may reiterate- that this should be done. We are only saying that if a state chooses to do it, it is not impermissible in law”.
In view of above observations, Central and the State Governments should categorise NT/DNT among the OBCs as separate Category and they should be given separate quota in proportion to their population in the respective State.
What have been directed by the Hon’ble Court was already suggested in the Mandal Commission Report itself, of course by the way of a dissent note by Shri L.R.Nayak, Member of the Commission and Ex. M.P. from Karnataka. Shri Nayak even prepared separate lists of more Backward Classes with respect to every State of the India. In this Dissent note, Mr. Nayak categorized into two Groups i.e. “Intermediate Backward Classes” and the “Depressed Backward Classes”. He suggested that the Depressed Backward Classes should be given protection and priority and separate quota so that they cannot be exploited by more developed groups from the OBC themselves. He has observed as under in his dissent note:-
“The ancient adage that if a big fish and a small fish are put together, the former will swallow the latter, it still very apt in the context of the Caste hierarchical Society of India. Care should, therefore, be taken with all emphasis at our command that the benefits of safeguards are dispersed equitably and rationally, as far as possible, among all sections of the Backward Classes. This, I consider, can happen by avoiding competition for benefits among the un equals or by bringing about competition among equals. I therefore propose that the common list should be categorized into two parts, “A” and “B”. “A” consisting of those Classes whom I have described as “Depressed Backward Classes and “B” the rest of the Communities in the list to be described as ‘Intermediate Backward Classes’. The list of ‘Depressed Backward Classes’ in relation to States and Union Territories is given in Annexure.
A percentage distribution of India population by Castes and Religious groups has been indicated in the body of the main Report. It is seen there from that the percentage population of other Backward Classes including non- Hindu Communities is derived at 52. it is further seen that the population percentage of Hindu Backward Castes/Groups is 43.70, whereas that of non Hindu Communities is 8.40. Now on categorization of other Backward Classes into ‘Intermediate Backward Classes’ and Depressed Backward Classes’, a fresh statement of percentage distribution of Indian population is prepared and is at Annexure.
It is seen there from that the percentage population of ‘Depressed Backward Classes’ is 25.56 and that of ‘Intermediate Backward Classes’ is 26.44. It is undoubtedly safe to assume that these two categories are equal to each other from their population point of view.
After good deal of discussions with which we are in full agreement, the Commission has recommended reservations to the extent of 27 percent in all services under the Central Government. It has further recommended that seats should be reserved in all Scientific, Technical and Professional Institutions run by the Central as well as the State Governments and the quantum of reservation should be the same in public services, i.e. 27%.
In all fairness and in view of the fact that the ‘ Depressed Backward Classes’ are comparable in the matters of Backwardness to those of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, I recommend 15 percent reservation for them out of 27 percent both in public services and educational Institutions as mentioned above. For all other concessions they should be treated on par with SC/ST.
As shown above the Mandal Commission favoured sub-categories among the OBC. We propose that lists of Nomadic Tribes and Denotified Tribes are already in existence since the Kaka Kalekar Commission. Therefore they should be recognized as separate sub- category for the purpose of separate quota.
It shall be pertinent to note here that the Nomadic Tribes, Denotified Tribes and Semi- Nomadic Tribes are already in the list of OBCs. Now what is required is to categorise them as separate sub-group among the OBCs. Now what is required is to categorises them as separate sub-group among the OBCs and to provide the separate quota and allocation to them. Such lists are already in existence in every State. For separate allocation Central or State Commission’s advice or consultation is not required because this is not new addition in the OBC lists. Justice Venkatachallaiah Commission’s Recommendations:-
“(242)” Extract of paragraphs 10.12.1 and 10.12.2 of Justice Venkatachallaiah Commission, NCRWC (National Commission to Review the Working Constitution of India) Recommendations for special consideration about De-Notified & Nomadic Tribes to include them in the list of S.T. or to appoint a special Commission to study about them and given then special privileges. The Denotified Tribes/Communities have been wrongly stigmatized as crime prone and subjected to highhanded treatment as well as exploitation by the representatives of law and order as well as by the General Society. Some of then are included in the list of Scheduled Tribes and others are in the list of Scheduled Castes and list of Backward Classes. The special approach to their development has been delineated and emphasized in the report of the working group for the Development of Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes in successive plans and also in the Annual Reports of the Commissioners for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the National Commissions for the Backward Classes. There are also special reports available on Denotified Tribes. Their recommendations have not received attention. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Tribal Welfare should collect all these materials and recommendations contained in the reports of the working groups and the reports of the National Commissions and other reports referred to and strengthen the programmes for the Economic development, Educational development, Generation of employment opportunities, Social liberation and full rehabilitation of Denotified Tribes. Whatever has been said about Vimukta Jaties also holds well for Nomadic and Semi- Nomadic Tribes/ Communities. Similar action should be taken in respect of Nomadic and Semi- Nomadic Tribes/ Communities as done in the case of De-notified Tribes or Vimukta Jaties. The continued plight of these groups of Communities distributed in the list of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes is an eloquent illustrations of the failure of the Machinery for planning, financial resources allocation and budgeting and administration in the Country to seriously follow the mandate of the Constitution including article 46.The setting up of an integrated net work of National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Authority, etc. recommended in Para 10.5.0 to 10.5.3 will provide a structural mechanism to deal in a practical way with the Vimukta Jaties as well as Nomadic and semi Nomadic Tribes/ Communities within the frame work of the SCP and TSP. Similarly, the approach to the development of Backward Classes referred to at Para 10.12 contains the approach. So deal in a practical way with the Vimukti Jaties and Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes/Communities who are in Backward Class list.
“243” The Commission also considered the representations made on behalf of the De-notified and Nomadic Tribal Rights Action Group and decided to forward them to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment with the suggestion that they may examine the same preferably through a Commission.”
In view of the observations and suggestions of the Supreme Court/Recommendation of Mandal Commission / Recommendation of Venkatechalleiah Commission it is high time to at the Central level, categorise most Backward Classes and other Classes and accordingly 27% quota be marked against the total OBC population should be divided among the different categories so that justice can be done to most deprived sections among the OBCs themselves.
It is therefore, established that Denotified and Nomadic Tribes is a different group which has a Constitutional right to get the benefits of Socio-economic reservations as has been done in the case of other Communities i.e. SC/ST. If we are not able to provide them this constitutionally justified right, then they would remain backward indefinitely. It is therefore, high time that the needs of these people are high lighted at national level so that a separate chapter is added for them in the Third Schedule of the Constitution of India i.e. “Scheduled Denotified and Nomadic Tribes”. As mentioned above there is an approx. 10 crore populations of these people in the Country and one group or the groups must be living in each and every part, State or District of the Country.
In view of the above, the previous NDA Govt. had taken a landmark decision and declared National Commission for Denotified and Nomadic Tribes. However, we learn that the Commission is not working at present. The UPA Govt. has given a Social Justice to the weaker section peoples including the Minorities as mentioned in their Govt. Achievement book brought out after completion of one year term of Govt. However, there is no mention about helpless people called Denotiifed Nomadic Tribes & Nomadic Tribes of India.
It is therefore, humbly requested that the needs of those peoples are high lighted at National level so that a separate chapter is added for them as Third Schedule in Constitution of India.