KOKRAJHAR: The Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM) on Monday came down heavily against the general secretary of the All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS), Aditya Khaklari, alleging him of working against the interest of tribal people of the State and selling ST certificates to non-notified communities. The mancha also appealed to the tribal people to boycott Khaklari if he continued to do business with tribal certificates.
The president of the BJSM, Janaklal Basumatary said Khaklari must know that his organization was just a private NGO which had no statutory authority to recognize a community as ST, the power of which is vested only with the President of India and the Parliament under Article 342(1) (2) of the Constitution of India. “Authority to issue caste certificate by the State government does not mean that the Sangha will recognize a non-notified community as ST and issue certificate in other communities’ name,” he said.
Basumatary said the State government also could not recognize a non-notified community as ST because it could not exercise the power of Article 342 (1) (2) of the Constitution. “The State government cannot authorize the non-government agency or MLA or MP. It has to authorize only officers prescribed by the Central government as list of officers given in the central form of SC/ST certificate,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court had reduced the list of officers with authority to issue SC/ST certificates. Thus the authority of the All Assam Tribal Sangha to issue ST certificates given by the Government of Assam was illegal. Moreover, Tribal Sangha was told to issue ST certificate only to those communities who are notified ST in constitutional order 1950, as amended till date. But, they issued ST certificates to non-notified communities, which is absolutely illegal. The High Court prima facie found that All Assam Tribal Sangha had no power to issue ST certificates. Hence, in an interim order the Tribal Sangha was stopped from issuing any caste certificate, he said, adding that Khaklari’s allegation against BJSM was not backed by law. Basumatary alleged that the AATS issued ST certificate to MP Naba Kr. Sarnia as Boro Kachari. He said that issuing ST certificate was not a matter of politics and national integration, it was a matter of the legal and constitutional rights of notified communities.