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Post at: Oct 12 2021

Constitutional (127th) Amendment Bill, 2021

Why in News

  • 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.

Background

  • 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.

Way forward

  • 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.

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