New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has advised the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to cancel an order issued on 5 August, setting up an advisory committee on the economic and social development of the people of these castes.
The NCSC had drawn flak for forming what was pejoratively labelled ‘Srivastava Pvt Ltd’, since it had included three Srivastavas in the committee — member secretary Prabhanshu Srivastava (also a director at the commission), and members Harsh Srivastava and Palash Srivastava. Retired IAS officer Sharda Prasad is the chairman of the committee, while the fifth member is Dr Satya Shri.
Sources told ThePrint that after the committee members’ names were made public, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment received several complaints about one particular caste dominating.
Following the complaints, the ministry, on 14 August, asked the NCSC to cancel its order because the committee was constituted when the commission was not in session.
“The order constituting the advisory committee has been issued when the commission was not in session, and therefore, secretary NCSC has been advised to cancel the order constituting the Advisory Committee forthwith. It may, however, be considered by the full commission as and when it is appointed,” the ministry’s order to the NCSC, approved by minister Thawarchand Gehlot, stated.
ThePrint reached NCSC Secretary Sushil Kumar for a comment, but he refused to speak on the matter.
‘Brahminisation’ of the Scheduled Castes commission
Among those who opposed the appointment of three Srivastavas to the panel was the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, the political party founded by Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Scheduled Caste icon Dr B.R. Ambedkar.
VBA spokesperson Rajendra Patode explained their objections to the committee, saying: “The committee is dominated by a single caste, and we feel that can hinder the process of delivering justice. We submitted our complaint with the President of India to cancel this committee immediately. The committee needs to have people from different castes.
“Is it a coincidence that two members who have been appointed are Srivastava and the third from within the commission itself is also a Srivastava? This shows the real functioning of the NCSC. This is nothing but an attempt to Brahminise the Scheduled Castes commission,” he continued.
“They have also not provided details of the fathers of two of the Srivastavas who have been included as members. We feel that the commission is trying to hide something.
Patode added that his party has demanded that members of the committee should include either a retired judge, a scholar, a social activist, or those running NGOs for the welfare of the SC community.
“The commission itself has so many posts vacant, and rather than filling them up, they are busy forming these committees,” Patode added.