Published: 13th September 2019
Only 69 community certificates issued to SC, ST members, 3000 applications pending
The commission has asked the ADWT Department to submit an accurate status report on the total number of pending applications
The Tamil Nadu Government has issued community certificates to only 69 people from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities since 2018, even as there are over 3,000 applications are pending.
This information came to light on Thursday when the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare (ADTW) Department made the submission at multiple hearings before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Chennai in cases related to pending community certificate applications. Jyotika Kalra, heading the commission's bench, said that the children may lose out on education and other people from SC and ST communities may never get the benefits they are entitled to if the government takes years to issue a community certificate. The commission has further recommended that processing of any application should not take more than a year.
The commission is organising an open hearing camp in Chennai on atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes on Thursday and Friday.
A complainant told Express on condition of anonymity that he was not issued a community certificate even though his brother already has one. He said that his application has been pending before the government since 2011. Many application for the community certificates are pending for a decade.
The commission has asked the ADWT Department to submit an accurate status report on the total number of pending applications and has also asked the department to submit a report explaining why so many certificates applications are still pending.
Speaking at the hearing an official from the department said that there wasn't enough manpower in the department. "Verification is an arduous process and we need more manpower for field verification," the official said. Kalra, however, responded by saying that children may lose out on education and other people from SC and ST communities may never get the benefits they are entitled to if the government takes years to issue a community certificate.
Speaking to Express, Geetha Ramakrishnan, a labour rights activist, said that getting a community certificate has become increasingly difficult. "Often government officials demand that at least one family member already has a community certificate to issue new certificates. In communities in which illiteracy is very common, it is next to impossible to find a literate person who has already taken the effort to obtain a community certificate," she said.