New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought
the Centre`s response on a petition seeking quota benefits to
nearly 15 crore de-notified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes
said to be living in penury and social neglect.
A bench of justices J M Panchal and H L Gokhale issued
notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Cabinet Secretary,
Ministry of Social Justice, National Commission for Backward
Classes, Ministry of Tribal Welfare and the Registrar General
and Census Commissioner of India on the petition of Mohan
Dhansing Chavhan, a member of the tribe.
Besides seeking reservation benefits, the petition also
sought census enumeration of such neglected de-notified as it
was not being since Independence, counsel Nitin Mesharam told
"They are landless, homeless, education-less and most to
this employment-less. They are rather most unfortunate people
of India constituting approximately 15 crore in population of
"The DTNTs are the indigenous tribal communities with
non-Aryan culture. They are under the stigma of criminality
and untouchability by birth since pre-Independent India. They
are the nomads and the wandering tribes pursuing their age old
means of livelihood.
"They are the destitute without any permanent abode to
live and settle. They don`t have land, education, skill and
knowledge of the present day advanced world and millions of
them are sick and malnourished. Such is the plight of the
DTNTs in the Democratic India," the petition stated.
According to the petition, the DTNTs deserve to be
equally treated with the Scheduled Tribes.
"The DTNTs have their distinct culture, distinct modes of
living and dialects. They are completely a distinct class of
people comprising of indigenous tribes and therefore they
deserve to be separately classified in the ongoing Census,"
the petition urged.
It complained that though the government enumerates the
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and prepares their
socio-economic indices in every Census conducted once in a
decade, but the same benefit is denied to the DTNTs.
"Forget about the government officers, even doctors and
health workers don`t visits to their makeshift tents even for
the polio doses," the petition added.