The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a constitutional amendment bill which aims at restoring the power of states to make their own list of Other Backward Communities (OBCs). The bill, which is soon expected to become a law, was passed with 385 members voting in its favour and no member opposing it as members across party lines voiced support for the major move.
The Constitutional amendment Bill requires that there should be a majority of the total membership of the House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.
Following the passage of the Bill, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi said: “I thank all Members of Lok Sabha for supporting The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021. Once passed in Rajya Sabha, this Bill will go a long way in protecting the interests of OBCs.”
The Centre introduced The Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021 in order to negate a categorical Supreme Court ruling in May this year which allowed only the central government to prepare an OBC list. The ruling had come during a hearing of the Maratha quota row.
The Supreme Court had dismissed the Centre’s plea seeking a review of its May 5 majority verdict that held that the 102nd Constitution amendment took away the states’ power to notify SEBCs for the grant of quota in jobs and admissions.
“States have no power to add any caste to socially economically backward caste list due to the amendment made by Parliament,” the top court had observed back then.
Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar described ‘The Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021′ as a historic legislation as 671 castes in the country would benefit from it.
He said the bill will restore the states’ rights to prepare their own lists of OBCs so that various communities can be given social and economic justice.The minister said the bill should be considered as the 105th Constitution Amendment bill after being renumbered.