Lok Sabha passes bill to give constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes

The NCBC bill was passed unanimously with over two-third majority in the Lok Sabha today. The bill provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. Superseding the amendments by the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017 unanimously with over two-third majority. After an almost five-hour debate, in which more than 30 members participated, all 406 present in the house voted in favour of the bill.

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. Parliament Monsoon Session HIGHLIGHTS

Amid the ongoing Maratha quota agitation in Maharashtra, which took a violent turn on Monday, the bill carries importance as the government is trying to build up a road towards 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present during the voting, congratulated Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot for successfully piloting the bill.

However, during the debate on the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017, several members demanded a census to ascertain the population of other backward classes (OBCs) while some others pressed for making public the socio-economic survey of 2014. Over two-third majority voted in favour of the bill, which is a necessity for amending the Constitution. The amendments moved by BJD’s Bhratruhari Mahtab were however rejected by 302 voting against it and 84 in favour, reported PTI.

Gehlot, in his reply to the debate, said that the government was committed to the upliftment of the downtrodden and backward classes of the society. He said the Union Cabinet had yesterday decided to amend the SC/ST Act to further strengthen the law to protect their rights. Citing various other measures taken by the government in this regard, he said a committee under Justice G Rohini has been set up to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes.

The legislation with regard to NCBC was passed by Lok Sabha on April 10 last year, following which it was then sent to the Rajya Sabha. On July 31 last year, the Upper House passed the bill after incorporating certain amendments moved by the Opposition and returned it to the Lok Sabha for ratification of the amendments.

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

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