Lok Sabha passes amendment bill on OBC Commission

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed an amendment bill to give constitutional status to the OBC Commission negating the amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha and adopting alternate amendments.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill was passed following a division with 406 members voting in favour of the motion and none against it.

Replying to the debate, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said that the rules will be framed in a way that one of the members of the commission is a woman.

He said the Narendra Modi government was committed to grant constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC).

The official amendment moved by the minister negated the amendments made by the Upper House when it passed the bill on July 31 last year. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on April 10, 2017.

Gehlot took a dig at Congress, saying its members had supported the bill in Lok Sabha last year but had changed their position in the Rajya Sabha.

Congress members in the Rajya Sabha had moved an amendment to clause 3 of the bill seeking to provide for appointment of all the five members of the commission from the OBC community, including a woman and a person from the minority community.

Gehlot said that the suggestion for “religion-based reservation” in composition of the commission was unconstitutional.

He said once the OBC commission gets constitutional status, 80 per cent of the demands of members will be met.

BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab said states should not be forced to come to the central government to about their lists of OBCs.

Gehlot said the Commission will decide on the central list and states will need to come to it if they want OBCs from their list to be included in the central list.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the Lok Sabha when the amendment bill was passed with a majority of total members present and not less than two thirds of those present and voting.

The bill is seen to be a push by the BJP to consolidate its support among OBCs ahead of state elections this year and Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

The bill seeks to grant NCBC constitutional status at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

First Published: Aug 02, 2018 21:23 IST

Updated: August 2, 2018 — 10:08 pm