Friday, 14 June 2013

Rajbhar Caste in modern Indian history

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The caste system has been prevailing in the country from the time immemorial. It has its advantage and disadvantage, to certain extent, but it has been a slur on the social system as a whole. Castes or classes which had been depressed and educationally backward, had been identified to be backward classes. In fact a large number of communities, for political and economical reasons, could not be in the main stream of the society. After the failure of 1857 Mutiny, the British regime confiscated the properties of persons who had fought against them; they had been deprived of the rights of education and employment; a large number of male adult of those communities had been hanged to death; thus, the female folk of those classes ran away with minors, and as those children did not have an opportunity to earn their livelihood, they adopted the crime as their profession. To curb the menace, the Criminal Tribes Act, 1911 (hereinafter called the Act 1911) was enacted, having serious rigour on the persons belonging to the said communities. These communities were notified under the provisions of that Act 1911. The Act was repealed by the Criminal Tribes Act 1924 having more rigorous provisions. It included deprivation of education and employment in the State/Kingdom. Persons belonging to these communities were bound to report to the Police Station after a regular interval. When a child of that community attained the age of 4 years, his name was required to be registered with the Police Station. Persons were bound to give their finger impressions to the Police Station. They could not move freely or even visit their relatives as they had to furnish all such informations to the Police. The authorities under the Act, were competent to pass an order for their settlement in a particular area or their place of residence could be confined to a particular area. They could be forced to settle in another State. For non-compliance of the provisions, punishment for imprisonment upto 3 years was provided in the Act. Sections 23 and 24 of the Act 1924 specifically provided for enhanced punishment for certain offences by members of the Criminal Tribes after previous conviction and Civil Court-jurisdiction had been barred to entertain any suit in respect of the notifications issued under the Act 1924.
India achieved independence in 1947 and it became republic on commencement of the Constitution of India on 26th February, 1950, but the Act 1924 was repealed w.e.f. 31st August, 1952. At the time of repealing the said Act, certain recommendations were made to provide the facilities to the persons of these communities more than reservations in service etc. Thus, there has been a continuous demand to confer privilege to the persons belonging to these tribes who had been de-notified and put them at the bar of the Scheduled Tribes.

Bhar/Rajbhar caste, which falls in the category of Denotified Tribe (Vimukti Jati). Persons belonging to Bhar and Rajbhar communities of State of Uttar Pradesh, had earlier been notified under the provisions of Criminal Tribes Act 1924 (hereinafter called the Act 1924). The Act 1924 stood repealed in 1952 and all the communities included in the schedule thereof stood de-notified, and certain benefits have been given to them, for example, making certain reservations of the seats in educational institutions.

Rajbhar community to which the present appellant belongs also approached the Hon'ble Supreme Court filing a Writ Petition No. 126 of 1986, Akhil Bhartiya Rajbhar Maha Sabha and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors. The said writ petition was disposed of vide order dated 8.10.1987 observing that the question "whether the Rajbhar caste should be included in the list of scheduled castes/scheduled tribes under Article 341 of the Constitution of India" has to be determined by the competent authority, as for the said purpose proceedings were pending, the same may be concluded expeditiously.

Government Orders issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh from time to time have microscopically been examined by the learned Single Judge and a finding has been recorded that the State itself is not competent to bring such a Circular/Government Order and the learned Judge has also examined the provisions of Reservation for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes (Amendment) Act, 2002, wherein the castes Bhar and Rajbhar have been included in the Backward Classes. There is nothing on record to show that the petitioner/appellant being a candidate belonging to de-notified tribe automatically becomes entitled to the benefit meant for Scheduled Tribes.
This article is taken from IndiaKanoon in case of Vijay Prakash vs State of UP And others to show the amendments and progress taken by the Government for Rajbhar Community.

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