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Bill to Restore States’ rights to specify OBC groups

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important constitutional amendments.

 

Context: The Constitution 127th Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed with unanimous support in Lok Sabha, recently.

  • The Bill amends the Constitution to allow states and union territories to prepare their own list of socially and educationally backward classes.

 

Need for:

On May 5, while scrapping a separate quota for the Maratha community in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court had ruled that after a 2018 amendment in the Constitution (102nd constitutional amendment), only the central government could notify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs) – not the states.

 

Highlights of the 127th Amendment Bill:

  1. The Bill seeks to restore the power of State governments to identify Other Backward Classes that are socially and educationally backward.

Please note that In May 2021, the Supreme Court, in an order, had empowered only the Central government for such identification.

  1. The Bill amends this to provide that the President may notify the list of socially and educationally backward classes only for purposes of the central government.
  2. This central list will be prepared and maintained by the central government.
  3. The Bill enables states and union territories to prepare their own list of socially and educationally backward classes.
  4. This list must be made by law, and may differ from the central list.

 

List of socially and educationally backward classes:

The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was established under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.

  • The Constitution 102nd Amendment Act, 2018 gave constitutional status to the NCBC, and empowered the President to notify the list of socially and educationally backward classes for any state or union territory for all purposes.

 

Consultation with the NCBC:

  • Article 338B of the Constitution mandates the central and state governments to consult the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.

 

Implications of the new Bill:

  • After passing, the 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 671 castes in the country would benefit from it and restore the States’ rights to make their own list of OBCs.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NCBC.
  2. Overview of 102nd Constitution Amendment Bill.
  3. About 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill.
  4. Overview of the Supreme Court Verdict in this matter.

Mains Link:

Discuss the implications of the New Amendment Bill.

Sources: the Hindu.