The Government will bring the 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill to Parliament to clarify “some provisions in the 102nd Constitutional amendment Bill” to restore the power of the states to identify backward classes — a demand made by a number of regional parties and even the ruling party’s own OBC leaders.
About 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill
- The 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill will amend Articles 342 A — clauses 1 and 2 — and will introduce clause 342 A (3) specifically authorising states to maintain their State List. There will be a consequential amendment in Articles 366(26C) and 338B (9). States will then be able to directly notify OBC and SEBCs without having to refer to the NCBC.
- There has been some confusion about what comprises a state and Central list, and this clause will clarify that.
- The cabinet has cleared the amendments and a Bill will be brought to Parliament next week. This is to give clarity to the 102nd constitutional amendment.
- A constitutional amendment Bill must be passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.
- The Centre had earlier moved a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging the court’s interpretation of the 102nd amendment of the Constitution in the Maratha reservation judgment that had scrapped the power of the states to identify and notify socially and educationally backward classes.
- The amendment that gave powers to the President to notify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) and Parliament the power to change the SEBC list was not to take away the powers of the state, but just fulfilling a long-held demand for constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC).
- On May 5, while scrapping the quota for Marathas in Maharashtra, the apex court had ruled that after the 102nd amendment to the Constitution made in 2018, only the Centre can notify socially and educationally backward classes, not the states.
The status of Central list of OBCs has been elevated by giving constitutional status to the list.
- It has given powers to the Parliament to make changes in the Central OBC list. The Constitution (102nd) Amendment Act, 2018 has given constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
- With this, NCBC gets powers to examine the grievances in implementation of the various welfare schemes meant for OBCs. Yesterday’s approval for introduction of the Constitution (127) Amendment Bill 2021 is in continuation of these efforts.
- 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. That would have adversely impacted nearly one-fifth of the total OBC communities.
Back to Basics
- Amending the Constitution of India is the process of making changes to the nation’s fundamental law or supreme law.
- The procedure of amendment in the constitution is laid down in Part XX (Article 368) of the Constitution of India.
- There is a limitation imposed on the amending power of the constitution of India.
- The most famous among them is the Basic structure doctrine as laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973).
Procedure of CAA
- An amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament.
- The Bill must then be passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a special majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting.
- There is no provision for a joint sitting in case of disagreement between the two Houses.
- If the amendment seeks to make any change in any of the provisions mentioned in the provision to article 368, it must be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States.
- Although there is no prescribed time limit for ratification, it must be completed before the amending Bill is presented to the President for his assent.
Types of Constitutional Amendment :
- Simple majority of the Parliament: Creation of new states, Delimitation of constituencies etc.
- Special majority of the Parliament: for Fundamental rights and DPSPs
- Special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of at least half of the state legislatures: Election of the President and its manner, Supreme Court and high courts etc.
Polity Current Affairs : Click here