India

National OBC Commission gets Constitutional status

Parliament clears bill giving the panel full powers to safeguard rights and interests of OBCs.

New Delhi: A key Bill to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) secured Parliament’s approval on Monday with the Rajya Sabha approving the measure that will give the panel full powers to safeguard the rights and interests of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed after a spirited debate during which several members urged the Centre to make public the findings of the caste census and implement reservation accordingly. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on August 2 superseding the amendments earlier carried out by the Rajya Sabha.

The bill was passed after the House repealed the National Commission for Backward Classes Act framed in 1993.

The commission

The NCBC, a statutory body created in 1993, was given limited powers, only to recommend to the government inclusion or exclusion of a community in the central list of OBCs. Also, the power to hear complaints of the OBCs remained with the National Commission for SC.

Congress demands…

The Congress demanded that the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act be included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to insulate it from legal challenge. A Bill to amend the Act, 1989, to overturn SC order that laid down certain safeguards in the law to prevent atrocities against SCs/STs was introduced in LS on Friday.

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