NCBC Bill: What is National Commission for Backward Classes and Its Constitutional Status? (Download PDF)

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A Constitutional body is set up under instruction of Constitution. Government is required to set up and cannot dispense off a constitutional body when it makes difficult decisions. They require amending part of the Constitution. They constitutional bodies cannot be invalidated by the Supreme court.

Image of National Poverty split by caste

Image of National Poverty Split by Caste

Image of National Poverty split by caste

Government is thus trying to make the National Commission for Backward Classes more permanent by granting it constitutional status.

Constitutional Bodies, Extra Constitutional Body, and Non-Constitutional Body

  • Constitutional Bodies formed by the Constitution to continue the objectives of the Constitution.

    • Permanent or semi-permanent constitutional organization responsible for specific functions.
    • These independent bodies helped India reach goal of Social, Secular, and Democratic Republic.
    • Either the president or the Prime Minister of India appoints the chief of these bodies.
    • Constitutional bodies cannot be abolished without consent of the states.
    • Some important constitutional bodies:

      • Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
      • Election Commission.
      • Finance Commission
      • CAG
      • National Commission for SC s/ST s
      • Attorney General
  • Extra constitutional body not defined in Constitution but established by a resolution of union cabinet.

    • Planning Commission
    • National Development Council
    • National Advisory Council
  • Non-constitutional body does not derive power from constitution. Statutory body is also non-constitutional body

National Commission for Backward Classes and NCBC Bill- 2017

  • Comes under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
  • Established on 14 August 1993 pursuant to the provision of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
  • Functions and power [edit]
  • Considers inclusions in and exclusions from the lists of communities notified as backward for the purpose of job reservations and tenders
  • National Commission for Backward Classes and National Commission for Scheduled Castes have same powers as a Civil Court.
  • Not been empowered to look into the grievances of Other Backward Classes- National Commission for Scheduled Castes is the competent authority to look into all the grievances relating to Backward Classes.
  • Bill seeking to grant constitutional status to the NCBC passed in Lok Sabha but was rejected by Rajya Sabha. Government plans to reintroduce it.
  • The NCBC Bill will insert Article 338B into the Constitution after Articles 338 and 338A which deal with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (ST) respectively
  • Right now, it is a statutory body with Supreme Court of India directing the Government of India, State Governments, and Union Territory Administrations to constitute a permanent body in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal for entertaining, examining, and recommending upon requests for inclusion and complaints of over-inclusion and under-inclusion in the list of OBCs. The Supreme Court held that the Constitution recognized only social and educational- and not economic backwardness.

Backward Classes in India

  • According to National Commission for Backward Classes, the number of backward castes in Central list of OBCs was 5,013 in 2006
  • NCBC proposed ₹15 lakhs to be minimum ceiling for OBC.
  • Recommended sub-division of OBCs into ‘backward’, ‘more backward’ and ‘extremely backward’ blocs and divide 27 % quota amongst them in proportion to their population.

Constitution 123Rd Amendment Bill and National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017

  • Provides for setting up of a new body to replace National Commission for Backward Classes
  • The new Commission for backward classes will have constitutional powers as enjoyed by the SC and ST Commissions
  • Seeks to remove the power of the NCSC to examine matters related to backward classes.
  • Backward classes: The Constitution Amendment Bill 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. However, a law of Parliament will be required if the list of backward classes is to be amended.
  • Composition and service conditions: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will comprise of five members appointed by the President. Their tenure and conditions of service will also be decided by the President through rules.
  • Functions: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include

    • Investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented
    • Inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights
    • Advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes. The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
  • The NCBC will be required to present annual reports to the President on working of the safeguards for backward classes. These reports will be tabled in Parliament, and in the state legislative assemblies of the concerned states.
  • Powers of a civil court: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while investigating or inquiring into any complaints. These powers include: (i) summoning people and examining them on oath, (ii) requiring production of any document or public record, and (iii) receiving evidence.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 21, 2017

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