National Commission for Socially & Educationally Backward Classes (NCSEBC)
102nd Amendment Act gave constitutional status to National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes .
Features of Bill
- Constitutional status: Constitution of a Commission under Article 338B for socially and educationally backward classes. (Earlier National Commission for Backward Caste was Statutory Body)
- One list instead of two: It stipulates only one central list for OBC, same as that for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. There would be no parallel existence of central and state OBC lists.
- Parliament to decide on inclusion/exclusion – Law of Parliament (
State Legislature) will be required if the list of backward classes is to be amended. (Earlier done by Executive order of Union and State Governments)
Functions of Commission under Article 338 B
- Look into inclusion of Castes in List of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes and recommend it to President
- Look into Development & Welfare needs in addition to reservations to be looked after by NCSEBC
- Hear Grievances of socially and educationally backward classes, a function which has been discharged so far by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes
- The Commission, which will have
- Vice-chairperson and
- 3 members
Benefits of Amendment
- Transparency: It is difficult to get an arbitrary decision passed in the Parliament than through an executive order.
- Stopping Political opportunism: Exposure of state and central governments to pressures of non-backward communities to force their way into the list would reduce as opposition cannot easily blame the government
- Constitutional authority: Giving it a constitutional authority will ensure it has more power in terms of hearing complaints from OBC members like SC/ST commissions
- Taking Holistic Measures to address issues of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes : It will look into developmental and welfare measures of Socially & Educationally Backward Classes along with Reservation
Issues with the Amendment and Commission
- Flawed Composition : In accordance with SC judgement on Mandal case
to have NCBC as an expert body, NCBC act 1993 provided that
- Chairman should be a former judge
- One member should be a social scientist
- Two persons with special knowledge of the socially backward classes.
This feature of expert body is not provided for in the composition of the NCSEBC Bill (Constitutional Amendment not passed Rajya Sabha due to composition)
- Against Federal structure: Bill makes Parliament the final authority on inclusion of communities in the OBC list and, therefore, takes away the authority of states which can now send requests to the NCSEBC
- Recommendations of new NCSEBC still not binding.
- On a similar footing as SC/STs: The amendment has brought both BCs and SC/STs in the same league in terms of discrimination, exclusion and violence which lacks logic and historical justification.