Meiteis’ exclusion from the ST list is by their own choice; Kalelkar Commission Report of 1956

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(1) KaKa Kalelkar Backward Classes Commission report of 1956, also known as the Second Backward Classes Commission report states that the Meiteis, when given an opportunity to be ST, did not include themselves. This is a startling and undeniable fact!

(2) The first Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 were notified Presidential Orders under Article 342(1) of the Constitution. These Orders were based on the list of depressed classes framed by Dr. J.H. Hutton in his Census Report 1931. The list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the State of Manipur was first notified through the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Part C States) Order, 1951. The Meiteis claimed that they were left out in the ST notification under President’s Constitution (STs) Order, 1950. This was found to be not true by the KaKa Kalelkar Commission of 1956.

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(3) A Backward Classes Commission (BCC) was constituted on 29th January 1953 with KaKa Kalelkar as the Chairman. The Commission was directed to determine the criteria to be adopted in considering whether any section of people should be treated as socially and educationally backward. The Commission was also directed to investigate the conditions of all such socially and educationally backward classes and the difficulties which they encountered in carrying out their work and prepare a list of such classes.
It was asked to make recommendations on the following matters:
(a) As to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties or to improve their conditions
(b) As to the grants that should be made available.

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(4) The Commission took two years to complete its work, and prepared a list of 2,399 castes and communities and suggested several measures for their social and economic development. About 70 per cent of India’s population was considered backward.

(5) The following criteria were suggested for determining backwardness:

  1. Low social position in the caste hierarchy
  2. Lack of educational progress
  3. Inadequate representation in government service
  4. Inadequate representation in the fields of trade, commerce and industry. Caste was taken as the key factor in making a list of backward classes. The Commission thought that the problems of a caste- ridden society could be minimised by promotion of the socially and educationally backward classes.

(6) A questionnaire was sent by the BCC to all the states and union territories and it included questions like: “Do you think that the lists of SCs and STs issued under the President’s s order need any revisions? If so, what castes or communities do you suggest for inclusion or exclusion from the above mentioned two lists (SCs & STs list)? Please state reasons… Have your state government recommended the inclusion in or exclusion from the existing lists of any tribe, caste, or community?” The report of Kalelkar Commission indicates that the Meiteis were not denied or left out from the STs List as they claim in 1950. Rather, it was the Meitei who chose not to be included. When the BCC requested a list of tribes to be included in the Scheduled Tribes (modification) list from each state and union territory including Manipur, the Meiteis did not

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