Guwahati, 23.11.2017: The Centre for Koch Rajbanshi Studies and Development (CKRSD) has recently filed a Writ Petition before Hon’ble Gauhati High Court challenging the decision of the Central Government to apply the Modalities of 1999 and modified Modalities of 2002 for deciding the claims of the Koch-Rajbongshi community for inclusion in the S.T (Plains) lists of Assam, since the entire exercise to grant S.T (Plains) status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community was carried out during the period 1994-1997 as per the Modalities prevalent at that time, which is much before the new Modalities of 1999 and 2002.
The Hon’ble Gauhati High Court after hearing the parties has admitted the Writ Petition and issued notice to – Secretary to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Secretary to Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Registrar General of India, Chief Secretary to Govt. of Assam, Secretary to WPTBC and the Director of Tribal Research Institute, Govt. of Assam.
It is submitted by CKRSD that based on the positive report of Tribal Research Institute, Govt. of Assam and ‘No Objection’ from Registrar General of India, the Union Govt. had introduced the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order Amendment Bill, 1996, in the Lok Sabha, and the matter was also referred to the Select Committee which also recommended for the inclusion of the Koch-Rajbongshi community in S.T (Plains) lists of Assam. Meanwhile, President of India promulgated the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Ordinance, 1996 (9 of 1996) which was re-promulgated three times granting S.T (Plains) status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community for one entire year.
Before the Assam Assembly Election of 2016, many senior BJP leaders had stated that if BJP comes to power they will grant S.T (Plains) status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community, but now both the BJP government at the Centre and the State are shying away. CKRSD questions if it was another Jumla from the ruling party? The Koch-Rajbongshi people of Assam had already fulfilled and cleared all the criteria’s/ modalities prevalent during the period 1994-1997, so why do we need to prove again and again. If we were good to be granted S.T(P) status by none other than the President of India, then we are good to be granted S.T(P) status today also.
Vikram Rajkhowa Arup Jyoti Das