To address the “offspring issue” in the predominantly tribal state, the Arunachal Pradesh government has notified the Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe Certificate Issuance Guidelines, 2022, which has the provision for cancellation, impounding or revocation of ST certificates issued to “ineligible” persons.
“Under these guidelines, if the certificate issuing authority is satisfied that a ST certificate has been obtained by any person by furnishing false information or by misrepresenting any fact or by suppressing any material information or by producing any document which is an act of forgery, it (government) may cancel, impound or revoke such certificate,” social justice, empowerment and tribal affairs (SJETA) minister Alo Libang told the state assembly on September 6.
He further informed that a scrutiny committee, with commissioner (political) as chairman and commissioner (SJETA), commissioner (law & judicial) and associate professor of Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies, RGU, Jumyir Basar being its members, was constituted in 2018 for “verification of disputed cases of caste/tribe certificate and issues of social status certificate to SC/ST communities in Arunachal Pradesh”.
He also revealed that five out of nine disputed cases of issuance of ST certificates placed before the scrutiny committee have been cancelled so far.
Out of the four remaining disputed cases, one pertains to the issuance of ST certificate allegedly in respect of an offspring of APST woman married to a non-tribal.
The hearings of these cases are under process by the scrutiny committee, Libang said while responding to a supplementary from Mebo MLA Lombo Tayeng.
Asked whether the government has fixed a cut-off year to consider or cancellation of ST certificate, the minister said, as of now, no cut-off year has been fixed and added that the government will study and consult the members on what can be done for the sake of state.
It may be mentioned that the state’s apex students’ body AAPSU has been demanding for a last solution to the ‘offspring issue’ wherein the offspring born to an Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) woman married to a non-tribal spouse enjoys all ST benefits in the state.