Social welfare Dept cannot issue or reject an application for ST certificate: Kyrmen Shylla

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After a section of concerned citizens have recently demanded scrapping of a notification issued by the social welfare department for allegedly seeking to issue ST certificates to indigenous people who are taking the surname of the father’s clan.

Minister-in-charge Social Welfare, Kyrmen Shylla said the decision to issue or reject applications for Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificates is not within the jurisdiction of the department.

Shylla however told reporters that his department had not issued any notification in this regard but had only sent a letter to the deputy commissioners following complaints received against non-issuance of ST certificates.

The letter was issued by the undersecretary of the social welfare department to the deputy commissioners of East Khasi Hills District and West Khasi Hills District on November 17, last year.

The letter had clearly stated, “The district-level committee is to decide each application expeditiously and issue or reject Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe certificates in respect of all applicants including those persons whose both parents are Khasi/Tribe but taken father’s surnames/title, as per documents available and procedures laid down by passing a speaking order in each case.”

The minister further clarified that the department had only requested the deputy commissioners to speed up the process so that genuine people are issued with the ST certificates as early as possible.

“The letter had never stated that those who are taking the father’s surname are eligible for ST certificate as such decision is not within the jurisdiction of my department,” he said.

Moreover, Shylla also maintained that the deputy commissioners are authorized to scrutinize the applications and accordingly issue or reject the same. “If the papers are found to be valid, the DC will issue the ST certificate and if not, the DC can reject (the application) as he/she can identify who is eligible and who is not,” he said.

Asked, the minister said that there is a need for the state government to have a proper consultation with all stakeholders before taking any decision on such matters. “We need to listen to the voice of the majority,” he said.