GS PRELIMS & GS MAINS PAPER II TOPIC –
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Reasons for being in news
Recently Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has written to Union Home Minister seeking re-imposition of Restricted Area Permit regime in six Islands in Andaman and Nicobar inhabited by Andamanese, Jarawas, Sentinelese, Onges and Sompens.
Inspite of reservations expressed by the Commission for excluding 29 inhabited islands in Andaman and Nicobar from Restricted Area Permit regime, the Ministry of Home Affairs on 17th September, 2018 have further relaxed the provisions by deleting the requirement of mandatory registration by foreigners visiting A&N Islands with FRO and added Viper Island to the list of islands already exempted by its circular dated 29th June, 2018.
The Commission is of the view that the above directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs are not in consonance with the spirit of Article 338A (9) of the Constitution of India which mandates that “Union and every State Government should consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting Scheduled Tribes.”
About Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958
The Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958 states that a Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required for non-Indian citizens to visit certain areas in India (mainly in the North-East). Certain requirements have to be fulfilled in order to get this permit. Indian citizens who are not resident in these areas need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter these places. The Inner Line Permit is significantly easier to get.
About Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order 1963
The Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order 1963 states that a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required for non-Indians to visit certain areas in India. As of 2009, RAP are required for all visits to the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and parts of the state of Sikkim. Unlike PAP, RAP are generally available for individual travellers and can be issued by overseas embassies or even, in some cases such as Port Blair’s Vir Savarkar Airport, on the spot. Indian citizens do not need special permission to visit Restricted Areas.
About Article 338A
It was inserted by Constitution (Eighty-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2003.The article reads as-
338A. National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
(1) There shall be a Commission for the Scheduled Tribes to be known as the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes.
(2) Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other Members and the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members so appointed shall be such as the President may by rule determine.
(3) The Chairperson. Vice-Chairperson and other Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal,
(4) The Commission shall have the power to regulate its own procedure.
(5) It shall be the duty of the Commission–
(a) to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
(b) to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes;
(c) to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
(d) to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
(e) to make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes; and
(f) to discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
(6) The President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.
(7) Where any such report, or any part thereof, relates to any matter with which any State Government is concerned, a copy of such report shall be forwarded to the Governor of the State who shall cause it to be laid before the Legislature of the State along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the State and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.
(8) The Commission shall, while investigating any matter referred to in sub-clause (a) or inquiring into any complaint referred to in sub-clause (b) of clause (5), have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:-
(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document;
(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;
(d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
(e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents;
(f) any other matter which the President may, by rule, determine.
(9) The Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting Scheduled Tribes.