• The Government is planning to bring a Bill to Parliament to clarify “some provisions in the 102nd Constitutional amendment Bill” to restore the power of the states to identify backward classes.
  • In India, separate OBC lists are drawn up by the Centre and each state concerned. Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) expressly conferred power on a state to identify and declare the list of socially and educationally backward classes.

Important points:

  • The amendment was necessitated after the Supreme Court in its ruling earlier this year upheld the 102nd constitutional amendment but said the President, based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), would determine which communities would be included on the state OBC list.
  • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act of 2018 inserted Articles 338B and Article 342A (with two clauses) after Article 342.
  • Articles 338B deals with the structure, duties and powers of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
  • Article 342A says that the President, in consultation with the governor, would specify the socially and educationally backward classes.
  • The ruling struck down the Maratha quota introduced by the Maharashtra government – a politically potent issue in the state.

About the Bill:

  • It will amend clauses 1 and 2 of Article 342A and also introduce a new clause 3.
  • The bill will also amend the Articles 366 (26c) and 338B (9).
  • It is designed to clarify that the states can maintain the “state list” of OBCs as was the system before the Supreme Court judgement.
  • Articles 366 (26c) defines socially and educationally backward classes.
  • The “state list” will be completely taken out of the ambit of the President and will be notified by the state assembly.

Constitution Amendment Bills

As per the procedure laid down in the Constitution, Constitution Amendment Bills can be of three types viz.

  1. requiring a simple majority for their passage in each House.
  2. requiring special majority for their passage in each House i.e., a majority of the total membership of a House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting (article 368).
  3. requiring special majority for their passage and ratification by Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States by resolutions to that effect passed by those Legislatures (proviso to clause (2) of article 368).

A Constitution Amendment Bill under article 368 can be introduced in either House of Parliament and has to be passed by each House by special majority.

There is no provision of joint sittings on a Money Bill or a Constitution Amending Bill.

Way Forward

  • The Amendment is found necessary to restore the powers of the state governments to maintain state list of OBCs which was taken away by a Supreme Court interpretation.
  • If the state list was abolished, nearly 671 OBC communities would have lost access to reservation in educational institutions and in appointments.


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