The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Act, 2014

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The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act no. 34 of 2014), was enacted with the view to amend the provisions of two Orders viz. ‘The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and The Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Castes Order, 1978. The Amending Act has received assent of President of India on 17th December, 2014.

The Order of 1950 specifies that the castes, races or tribes, or parts of, or groups within, castes or tribes specified in the Schedule annexed to that Order should be treated as ‘Scheduled Castes’ in connection with States to which the parts given under that Order relates. And also the persons who have professed a religion other than Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist, should not be treated as member of Schedule Caste under the provision of that Order of 1950. The Part VIII of the Schedule annexe to that Order of 1950 deals with Kerala State and enlisted a number of casts, etc. which are to treated as ‘Scheduled Castes’. The Amending Act of 2014 deals with amendment of certain entries therein, including entry 46 and 61 and provides for new substitutions thereof. The 46th entry to include Palluvan, Pulluvan and entry 61 to include Thandan (excluding Ezhuvas and Thiyyas who are known as Thandan, in the erstwhile Cochin and Malabar areas) and (Carpenters who are known as Thachan, in the erstwhile Cochin and Travancore State), Thachar (other than Carpenter). The distinction between Thandan Scheduled castes and Thandan Other backward classes was made by the Amending Act of 2007 i.e. The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2007.

Similarly, in Part IX of the Schedule annexed with that the Order 1950 deals with Madhya Pradesh State, the Amending Act, amends the entry 18 by providing new substitute for older one, and includes Dahait, Dahayat, Dahat and Dahiya in that entry. Also in Part XIII dealing with State of Orissa, where entry 2 is substituted with newer one, and includes Amant, Amat, Dandachhatra Majhi, Amata, Amath and for entry 13, a new entry including Bedia, Bejia and Bajia” was substituted. Similarly, amendment in entry 41 provided as Jaggali, Jaggili and Jagli were included therein. And for 69th entry, the entry consisting of Pan, Pano, Buna Pana, Desua Pana and Buna Pano is substituted by this Amending Act. And lastly, in the Part XVII dealing with Tripura, the entries 4, 7 and 12 are substituted with newer ones, including Chamar, Muchi, Chamar-Rohidas and Chamar-Ravidas in 4th entry, Dhoba and Dhobi in entry 7th and Jalia Kaibarta and Jhalo-Malo in entry 12th in that part.

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Further, the Amending Act amends the provision of The Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Castes Order, 1978. The Order of 1978 provides that, the castes, races or tribes, or parts of, or groups within, castes or tribes specified in the Schedule annexed to that Order of 1978 should be treated as ‘Scheduled Castes’ for the purpose of Constitution of India, in connection with State of Sikkim. And similar to that of Order of 1950, here in case of Order of 1978 also the persons who have professed a religion other than Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist, should not be treated as member of Schedule Caste under the provision of that Order of 1978 in relation to the State of Sikkim. So far as amendment of the provision of this Order is concerned the Amending Act provides that, the Entry 3 in the Schedule annexed with that Order of 1978, which was covering ‘Majhi’ (Nepali) under the purview of ‘Scheduled Castes’, now should be omitted.

Both these Orders were made by the President of India, by exercising its power which are provided under Article 341, clause (1) of the Constitution of India and after having consultation with the Governors of the states concerned thereof. The caste as have treated an important ground for determining once backwardness, the Indian higher Judiciary has also many times considered the matters of reservation and cases of determination of castes including one of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Palghat Jilla’s case, (1994) had clarified the Caste status of Thandans.

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 by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.