ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Protected on Paper

Vol VII, No 23 JUNE 3, 1972


Protected on Paper

Dipak B R Chaudhuri


The fathers of the Constitution had envisaged the office of the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as a key institution in the new Republic of India. […]

Article 338 of the Constitution provides for the institution of the high office of a ‘Special Officer’—actually designated ‘the Commissioner’—to be entrusted with the duty of investigating all matters related to the safeguards provided for the scheduled castes and tribes under the Constitution and of reporting on the working thereof to the President who is to cause the report to be laid before Parliament. The original conception of such an office, to protect the weakest sections of society, came from B R Ambedkar, in a memorandum submitted to the Constituent Assembly in 1947. According to this proposal, the status of the Special Officer was to be similar to that of the Auditor-General or of a Judge of the Supreme Court; and he was charged with the duty of preparing an annual report on the treatment of these minority communities by the public as well as by the governments of the Union and the states and noting any transgression of the safeguards provided or any miscarriage of justice on account of communal bias by the governments or their officers. The scheme also specifically provided for the placement of the Special Officer’s reports before both the Union and the state legislatures for discussion.


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Updated On : 3rd Jun, 2022
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