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Since 1st March, 1999
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Q:I belong to a scheduled tribe community in Bihar and hold a certificate from the appropriate authority of that state mentioning my caste. My family has recently moved to West Bengal and I am considering applying for a job as a teacher in a government school. I would like to know if my certificate is also valid in West Bengal. Also, please tell me if I will be entitled to apply under the scheduled tribe quota in West Bengal'

B.Singh, Calcutta

A:Under Article 342 of the Constitution of India, the states may by public notification specify certain tribes or tribal communities, who shall for the purposes of the Constitution be deemed to be "scheduled tribes in relation to that state". Under Article 15(4), states are inter alia entitled to make special provisions for such scheduled tribes. Thus, each state is able to offer certain privileges or benefits or rights, by way of quotas or reservations or otherwise, to those particular communities in that state to ensure their advancement socially and educationally. These quotas are, however, restricted to the communities requiring protection in that particular state.

If you belong to a community that is recorded as a scheduled tribe in Bihar but not recognised as a scheduled tribe in West Bengal, you will not be entitled to any special concession in West Bengal. Of course, you will always remain eligible for any concessions or benefits in your state of origin (Bihar) in spite of your migration, but your right to such privileges in Bihar cannot be carried over to other states where you may migrate or go to later.

The reason behind this is that if these categories were treated as valid all over the country, it would negate the very purpose, scheme and language of the aforementioned provisions our Constitution. Special protection is required for the upliftment of disadvantaged tribes of that particular state and if other communities were entitled to impinge on such quota it would be inconsistent with the entire scheme of reservation in our country and the scheduled tribes of each state would not enjoy the special privileges bestowed on them by their own state.

Under the circumstances, I suggest that you apply for the teaching job in West Bengal through the normal procedures and not via the reserved quota.

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