It shall be the duty of the Commission: –
- To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes 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 safeguards.
- To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes.
- To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
- To present to the President, reports upon the working of the safeguards.
- To make in the 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 Castes.
- To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by the rule specify.
The Commission shall, while investigating any matter referred to or inquiring into any complaint referred have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:-
- Summoning any person from any part of India and examining him.
- Requiring the discovery and production of any documents.
- Receiving evidence on affidavits.
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.
- Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents.
- Any other matter which the President may by rule, determine.
The Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting Scheduled Castes
The commission presents an annual report to the President. It can also submit a report as and when it thinks necessary. The President places all such reports before the Parliament, along with a memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations made by the Commission. The memorandum should also contain the reasons for the non-acceptance of any of such recommendations.
The President also forwards any report of the Commission pertaining to a state Government to the state Governor. The Governor places it before the state Legislature, along with a memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations of the Commission. The memorandum should also contain the reasons for the non-acceptance of any of such recommendations.
Powers of the Commission
- The Commission may hold sittings for investigation into matters relating to safeguards, protection, welfare and development of the Scheduled Castes for inquiry into specific complaints for which the Commission decided to take up investigation or inquiry directly. Such sittings may be held either at the Headquarters of the Commission or at any other place within the country.
- The Commission shall convene meeting of all the Chief Secretaries, Secretary. (Home), Secretary. (Social Welfare), DGPs of the State and Secretaries of the Government of India, who may be considered accountable for the implementation of the programme of the safeguards as enumerated under Article 338(5) (a) once in a year for monitoring the safeguards and development.
- The Commission for the purpose of taking evidence in the investigation or inquiry, requires the presence of any person and when considered necessary may issue summons to him/her with the approval of the Chairman. The summons for enforcing attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him/her during the course of investigation and inquiry by the Commission shall provide at least 15 days’ notice to the person directed to be present before the Commission from the date of receipt of the summons. In serious cases of atrocities, three days’ notice will be given to the person directed to be present before the Commission from the date of receipt of the summons by him/her.
- Where the property, service/employment of Scheduled Castes and other related matters are under immediate threat and prompt attention of the Commission is required, the matter shall be taken cognizance by issue of telex/fax to the concerned authority for making it known to them that the Commission is seized of the issue and that authority will be prohibited to take any action till the completion of the enquiry in the matter by the NCSC
- The Commission may issue commission/under Clause 8(e) of Article 338 of the Constitution to take evidence in any matter under investigation or inquiry and for this purpose appoint any person by an order in writing. The Commission may make further rules for payment of fee and travelling and other allowances to persons appointed to take evidence on commission.
- The Commission may decide about the matter that is to be investigated or enquired into by an Investigating Team of officials of the Commission, provided that in case the matter is urgent, the decision for such investigation or inquiry may be taken by the Chairperson.
- The Investigating Team shall hold the investigation or inquiry, as the case may be, promptly and for this purpose, may initiate necessary correspondence including issuance of notices for production of documents in Form I, appended to these rules.
- The Investigating Team may visit the area concerned after observing due formalities for obtaining approval of tours and other administrative requirements and after giving information to the concerned local authorities regarding the matter, purpose, scope and procedure of the investigation or inquiry. The Investigating Team may enlist the help of the officers and staff of the concerned State Office but the responsibility of preparing and presenting the report shall rest with the head of the Investigating Team.