WB: Bill to help SC-ST people appeal against refusal of caste certificates passed

Kolkata: The West Bengal Assembly on Friday passed a bill which seeks to provide the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities of the state with opportunities to appeal against cancellation, refusal and revocation of caste certificates.

The West Bengal Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Identification) (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was tabled by the Backward Classes Welfare Minister, Bulu Chik Baraik.

The bill will enable the people of the SC and ST communities to appeal against refusal to issue a caste certificate. There was no provision of appeal against cancellation, impoundment or revocation of the caste certificate. Now we have decided to provide this provision, the minister said.

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The matter will be dealt with by district magistrates or additional district magistrates in the districts and by the commissioner, Presidency Division, in Kolkata.

Baraik also said that every appeal has to be disposed of within three months from the date of application.

No such appeal shall be disposed of without giving the appellant a reasonable opportunity of being heard. We have included this appeal provision to ensure that those from SC and ST communities are not deprived, he said.

As per the 2011 census, the SC and ST people comprise nearly 23.51 per cent and 5.8 per cent of the populationof West Bengal respectively.

Meanwhile, while talking to reporters, BJP MLA from Kurseong in Darjeeling Hills, Bishnu Prasad Sharma, said the Gorkhas should get back their tribal status.

The Gorkhas were earlier notified as a tribal community. But this status was withdrawn in the 1950s. We want it to be restored. On several occasions, we, the Gorkhas, are dubbed as foreigners which is not right, said the MLA.

Sharma has been vocal about the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

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