The bill to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was passed by the Parliament on Monday with the Rajya Sabha clearing it amid demand by several members to make public the findings of the caste census and implement reservation accordingly. The Upper House adopted the legislation, along with the amendments made by the Lok Sabha, with over two-thirds majority of those present voting in favour of the bill.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the passage of the bill “a historic moment of our country”. “A historic moment for our country! I am glad that the Parliament has passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, which grants Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. This will contribute to the empowerment of the OBC communities across India,” he posted on the micro-blogging site.
A historic moment for our country!
I am glad that the Parliament has passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, which grants Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
This will contribute to the empowerment of the OBC communities across India
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 6, 2018
The Rajya Sabha had earlier passed the measure on July 31 last year, along with an amendment and sent it to the Lower House. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill last week with alternate amendments as well as some more changes unanimously with over two-third majority.
Tabling the bill, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said it would help the backward classes people fight atrocities against them and ensure quick justice to them. “This bill would provide justice to the OBC people,” said Gehlot, adding “this is the need of hour”.
Referring to the suggestions by the opposition parties, he said the NCBC would have female representation. He also assured that it would also not encroach upon the rights of state governments as they would have their own backward class commissions. “This commission has no relation with the state governments but is related to the Centre only,” he said.
Gehlot added that the state governments had their own lists of castes of OBC people, while the Centre had its own. The NCBC would recommend only to the central government regarding inclusion or deletion of a particular caste in the list.
“This is an important issue. There was demand for a constitutional status to OBC Commission from the 1980s and Parliament had held discussions several times. It has been discussed by the Standing Committee,” Gehlot said and urged the members to pass it expeditiously. He further said once it is passed by Parliament, the government would immediately form the commission.
The bill provides for the grant of constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) on par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. It states that the President may specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories. He may do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state.
The duties of the NCBC include investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented and probe specific complaints regarding violation of rights. Under this measure, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while probing any complaint.’
(With PTI inputs)