Several provisions have been incorporated in the Constitution for safeguarding and promoting the interests and rights of the Scheduled Tribes in various spheres so as to enable them to join the national mainstream. An overview of the provisions is as follows.
|I.A-Definition and Specification of STs|
|II.B - Educational, Economic and Public Employment-related Safeguards|
|15||Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth|
|16||Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment|
|19||Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc|
|46||Promotion of Educational and Economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections|
|335||Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to services and posts|
|II.C- Political Safeguards|
|330||Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People|
|332||Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assemblies of the States|
|334||Reservation of seats and special representation to cease after sixty years|
|243D||Reservation of seats (in Panchayats)|
|243T||Reservation of seats|
|II.D- Agency for monitoring safeguards|
|338A||National Commission for Scheduled Tribe|
Article 46 of the Constitution provides that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
Reservation in educational institution has been provided in Article 15(4) while reservation in posts and services has been provided in Article 16(4), 16(4A) and 16(4B) of the Constitution.
Article 23 which prohibits traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar forms of forced labour has a special significance for Scheduled Tribes. In pursuance of this Article, Parliament has enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. Similarly, Article 24 which prohibits employment of Children below the age of 14 years in any factory or mine or in any other hazards activity is also significant for Scheduled Tribes as a substantial portion of child labour engaged in these jobs belong to Scheduled Tribes.
Article 243D provides reservation of Seats for Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats.
Article 330 provides reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People.
Article 332 provides reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in Legislative Assemblies of the States.
Article 334 provides that reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas (and the representation of the Anglo-Indian Community in the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas by nomination) would continue up to January, 2020.
Other specific safeguards have been provided in Article 244 read with the provisions contained in Fifth and Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.