The Rajya Sabha today passed a bill to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, as several members urged the government to make public the findings of the caste census and implement reservation accordingly.
The demand was raised during a debate on the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017, passed by the Lok Sabha on August 2 superseding the amendments earlier carried out by the Rajya Sabha.
Today, the Upper House adopted the legislation, along with the amendments made by the Lok Sabha, by 156 votes to nil.
Over two-third majority of those present voted in favour of the bill, which is a necessity for amending the Constitution.
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.
Moving the bill for consideration and passage, 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.
He said 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.