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3 years on, Central ST panel yet to dispose of CM case

SHILLONG: Three years after the verdict of the Supreme Court that had insisted that the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes probe the ST status case of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, the matter is yet to be disposed of.
On January 20, 2014, the Supreme Court, while hearing a writ petition, requested the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to dispose of the matter within eight weeks.
The petition was in the matter of All North East Indigenous Law Promoters Association versus the Union of India as well as Special Leave Petition of Tennydard Marak versus Union of India.
The Meghalaya Government had also constituted a state-level Scrutiny Committee in March 2014 to conduct inquiry into the ST status of the Chief Minister, but further proceedings of the Committee were stayed by the apex court on May 9, 2014, after the matter was challenged through a petition.
In this context, the question arose as to who would conduct the inquiry into the ST status -the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes or the newly formed Scrutiny Committee.
As per Section B of Article 338A of the Constitution, it is the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ duty “to inquire into specific complaints with regard to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of STs”. So it is the Commission and not the state-level panel that will probe the issue. The matter is likely to be listed for hearing on February 3.

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