On 10th August, 2021 the Lok Sabha passed The Constitutional (127th) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The Bill that aim at restoring powers of states to notify backward classes.
This Bill will amend Article 342 A - clause 1 and 2 and will introduce new clause 342A(3) specifically authorising states to maintain their state list.
Supreme Court while scrapping the quota for Marathas in Maharashtra had ruled that after 102nd amendment, only centre can notify socially and educationally backward classes not the states.
102nd constitution Amendment Act os 2018 inserted 338 B and Article 342 A (with two clauses) after Article 342.
Artcle 388 B deals with structure, duties and powers fo National Commission for Backward classes.
Articles 342 which said that president, in consultation with governor would specify the socially and educationally backward classes.
About the Bill
Along with amendment in clauses 1 and 2 of Article 342 'A', Bill also introduce a new clause '3'.
Article 342A(3); Notwithstanding anything contained in clauses (1) and (2), every state or Union territory may, by law, prepare and maintain, for its own purposes, a list of socially and educationally backward classes, entries in which may be different from the central list.
The Bill also amend the Articles 366 (26c) and 338 B(9).
States can maintain the state list of OBCs as was the system before the Supreme Court Judgement.
Thus state list will be completely taken out of the ampit of the president and will be notified by the state assembly.
About National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)
102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward classes.
Previously it was a statury body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Structure of NCBC
The commission consist of five members –
They are appointed by president by warrants under his hand and seal.
The conditions of service and tenure of office of chairperson, vice-chairperson and other members is decided by president.
Powers and functions
To investigate and monitor all matters of socially and educationally backward classes under the constitution or under any law that are related to proper working of safeguards provided.
To participate and advise on socio-economic development of socially and educationally backward classes along with evoluating the progress of their development.
It annually present the reports based on the working of the safeguards of backward classes to president.
Where any of such report or any part relates to any matter with which any state government is concerned a copy of such report shall be forward to the concerned state government.
The amendment is found necessary to restore the powers of the state government to maintain state list of OBCs which was taken away by a supreme court interpretation.
If state list was abolished, nearly 671 OBCs communities would have lost access to reservation in educational institutions and in appointment.
They would have adversely impacted nearly one-fifth of total OBC communities.
It will counter one size fit approach and promote socio-economic development as per need of community at local level.
It will promote cooperative federalism in country.