Tamil Nadu fishermen seek Scheduled Castes status; HC directs NCSC to consider plea within 6 months

Chennai: The Madras High Court, on Friday, directed the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) to consider, within six months, the representation of the fishermen community of Tamil Nadu seeking inclusion in the list of Scheduled Castes.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose passed the order on a plea moved by Fisherman Care, an organisation working for the welfare of fishermen. The petitioner organisation also wanted the government to reserve six legislative constituencies and three parliamentary constituencies in the state for the fishermen community. The bench directed them to make a representation to the Election Commission in this regard and ordered the poll panel to consider the same within a period of six months.

According to the petitioner, the Mandal Commission report on backward classes had said certain sections of occupational communities like the fishermen and banjaras were still suffering from the stigma of untouchability. The commission had suggested that these castes, listed as other backward classes (OBCs), be considered for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Castes, the petition said. This apart, the M S Swaminathan Committee had also recommended considering a separate legislation, on the lines of the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, for recognising the traditional rights and fishing occupation of the fishermen community, it added.

Claiming that the participation of the fishermen community in the legislature, judiciary and executive was nearly nil, the petitioner said that in a democratic set-up, every individual and community had a legitimate aspiration and right to participate in the ruling of the country. "Therefore, it is high time to implement the Mandal Commission recommendation and carve out the areas of their concentration into separate constituencies at the time of delimitation," the petition said.


Updated Date: Mar 03, 2018 14:53 PM

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