Patna: It’s a curious state of affairs for a Chief Minister whose media spiel is all about his concern for the dalits. The State Commission for SC & ST in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar is non-functional for the past two years. The government seems to be ignoring the Patna High Court directive to remedy the situation.
The scheduled caste commission at present has no chairman, vice-chairman and members for the past two years. The scheduled tribe commission has a chairman but there is no vice-chairman or any members appointed.
A local daily quoting sources in the department reported that due to ‘non-fulfilment of quorum, the meeting of the panel could not take place’ for the past two years.
Savita Oraon, a complainant from Banka, said: “Till now, I have come to the commission office thrice but each time I had to go as the commission is not functioning. This has led to huge suffering for people like us who come with a lot of hope.”
Most of the cases that come to the commission relate to persecution or torture.
The matter of filling up the posts of SC/ST panel is pending before the high court. The high court had on August 24, 2017, directed the state government to file a counter affidavit indicating what action has been taken for filling up the posts within four weeks.
On November 24, 2017, the high court again asked the state government to take steps for appointment to the offices.
On January 24, 2017, Patna High Court ordered the state government to take action for filling up the posts. But till date, there has been no response from the state government.
A division bench of Patna High Court of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad on Monday (March 12) directed the secretary, SC/ST welfare department, Prem Singh Meena, to file a reply before the court within two weeks.
The deputy director, Patna division, SC & ST welfare, said: “I cannot comment on this as this is out my jurisdiction. Only the secretary of the department can tell you something about this.”