Ground Report | New Delhi: OBC Bill passed; Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar introduced the 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2021 in the Lok Sabha on August 9 to restore the power of states to make their own OBC lists. The bill has also been passed in the Lok Sabha without opposition. Why this bill has been brought, what could be the meaning, explain in detail.
With the help of this Constitution Amendment Bill, Articles 342A, 338B and 366 of the Constitution will be amended. In his statement, Minister Virendra Kumar said that the right of States and Union Territories to prepare and maintain their own list of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) as well as this Constitution to maintain the federal structure of India. Revision is necessary.
OBC Bill passed constitutional amendment?
Articles 342A, 338B and 366(26C) were added to the Constitution with the help of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act passed in 2018.
- Article 338B deals with the composition, duties and powers of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
- Article 342A deals with the powers of the President, according to which the President can notify a particular caste as SECB and the powers of the Parliament to make changes in the OBC list.
- Article 366(26C) defines SEBC.
The decision to bring the 127th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021 comes just ahead of crucial assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, where Other Backward Castes (OBC) groups have political sway.
127th Constitution Amendment Bill
You can also see this by connecting it to the farmers’ movement. Jats have a major contribution in this movement. In Jat-dominated western UP, the BJP’s condition has worsened. The Panchayat election results are a testimony to this. The situation of Jats dominated Haryana is that BJP leaders are not able to hold any meetings. Elections are going to be held in these two states next year. Jats are already OBC in UP, but not in Haryana. If the Haryana government puts Jats on the OBC list, then along with Haryana, the Jat farmers of UP will also get entertainment.
A few days ago, the central government also accepted the old demand of introducing 27% reservation for OBCs in medical and dental courses. On the other hand, the opposition also does not want to look back on the 127th Constitutional Amendment.
With the introduction of the 127th Constitutional Amendment in Parliament, this is the third time in the last three years that the central government has resorted to the law-making power of the Parliament to effectively bypass the Supreme Court’s decision on lower castes. On the first two occasions-
- In 2018, the central government had brought a bill in Parliament to overturn the apex court’s decision diluting some key provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act. The Supreme Court later upheld the amendments passed by Parliament.
- A few months before the general elections in 2019, when the Supreme Court upheld the Allahabad High Court’s order to do away with the earlier roster system in allotment of reserved posts in government educational institutions, the central government had decided to bring back the old roster system. Took recourse to ordinance.
Identify backward classes
On May 13, the Center filed a review petition in the apex court and argued that the May 5 judgment needed to be reconsidered as the errors were evident on the face of the record. The review petition was dismissed on July 1.
Last week, the Union Ministry of Social Justice told Parliament that the Center was consulting legal experts to “protect” states’ powers to identify backward classes.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar told the Rajya Sabha last month that the government is in consultation with legal experts and the Law Ministry and examining ways to protect the power of states in determining the state list of OBCs.
The minister said that the “legislative intent” was reflected in the debate in Parliament when the amendment was passed and added, “…it was clearly declared that the amendment would give the powers of the states to recognize and declare those classes in the state.” will not affect to those who were backward”. (OBC Bill passed)
The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha a day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded a caste-based census and said its need was driven by social concerns, not political. Other prominent leaders of the state including former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav have also supported this demand.
Bharatiya Janata Party is the only party in Bihar that does not support caste based census.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Friday said her party will support the Center in Parliament and outside if the government takes positive steps towards conducting the OBC census.