In this article, we will discuss the National Commission for Backward Classes in a simple and easy way and will also consider other facts related to it.
This is the largest category to get reservation, and now it has been brought under the Constitution. So read this article till the end, and also read articles written on related other commissions. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.
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Who is Backward Class?
Under Article 342 ‘A’ it has been explained who is or will be a Backward Class (BC).
Article 342 ‘A’ states that – (1) The President, in relation to any State or Union territory, where that State is; there may, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the socially and educationally backward classes. shall, for the purposes of this Constitution, be deemed to be a Socially and Educationally Backward Classes in relation to that State or Union territory.
(2) Parliament has the right, by law, to grant to Socially and Educationally Backward Classes; may include in or exclude from the list specified in the notification issued under clause (1).
Q. Why was there a need to set up a Commission for Backward Classes (BC)?
Backward Classes or what we commonly call Other Backward Classes (OBC); It identifies a class that has not suffered relatively untouchability and has not generally lived away from the main society like the tribals, yet for some reason they remain socially and educationally backward. It is called Other Backward Class or Other Backward Classes only because, except SC and ST, these are people who are backward.
Remember here that SC and ST are also backward classes, but after following the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, a separate section of the backward community was identified, which was called the Other Backward Classes. And the National Commission for Backward Classes mainly works to identify and exclude people from these communities and include them in the list.
Let us understand this in some detail.
The purpose of the Preamble of the Constitution of India is to achieve social, economic and political justice. A number of policies have been adopted to reach this goal of providing social justice. Article 14 of the Constitution mandates the State to provide equality before the law and equal protection of the laws to all persons. Articles 15 and 16 establish the principle of “right to equality” in the context of affirmative action.
Article 15(1) prohibits discrimination of any citizen and under clauses (4 and 5) of article 15, the State shall make special provisions in the matter of admission in educational institutions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes. entitled to.
Special care has been taken to declare equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment through Article 16. And clause (4) of the same article declares that nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens who, in the opinion of the State, are is not adequately represented in the services.
Mandal Commission was constituted to fulfill the objective of providing equal opportunities. On his recommendations, the Government of India provided 27% reservation to backward classes in central posts and services.
The Supreme Court in the landmark judgment of 16-11-1992 Indra Sawhney Vs Union of India, cleared 27% reservation but propounded the concept of ‘creamy layer’ for socially and economically advanced persons.
For this, the court also directed that a permanent commission or tribunal should be established at the central and state level, which can advise the government regarding inclusion or exclusion of backward classes in the list.
Pursuant to this direction of the Supreme Court, the Government of India enacted the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. And under this, a National Commission for Backward Classes was established at the Center which came into effect on 24 April 1993.
| National Commission for Backward Classes and its Organization
The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was initially constituted by the Central Government under the National Backward Classes Act, 1993. The Commission had been reconstituted 7 times till 2016. Then later in August 2018, the government repealed the National Commission for Backward Classes Act 1993. And with the help of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act, Article 338 ‘B’ and Article 342 ‘A’ were added to the Constitution. Constitutional status was given to this commission.
The present Commission (8th) has been given constitutional status under Article 338 ‘B’. This Article states that there shall be a Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes to be known as the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and other members of the Commission are appointed by the President by warrant under his signature and seal. However, the Commission has the power to regulate its own procedure.
The Commission consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and three other members and works under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. And their terms of service and term of office are determined by the President.
| functions of the commission
Clause 5 of Article 338 ‘B’ explains the duty of the Commission;
- To investigate and monitor all matters relating to safeguards provided for socially and educationally backward classes under this Constitution or under any other law or under any order of the Government. and to evaluate the functioning of such safeguards.
- To inquire into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of socially and educationally backward classes.
- To participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
- To report to the President annually and at such other times as may be necessary.
- To make recommendations in such reports as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of socially and educationally backward classes .
The commission submits its annual report to the President. The President causes this report to be laid in each House of the Parliament.
If the report or any part thereof relates to a matter to which the State relates, a copy thereof shall also be sent to the Governor of the State, who shall cause the same to be laid before the State Legislature.
- To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of socially and educationally backward classes; As the President may, by rule, specify, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament.
| Powers of the Commission
Clause 8 of Article 338 ‘B’ explains the powers of the National Commission for Backward Classes; According to which, when the Commission is investigating any act or investigating any complaint, it shall have the powers of a civil court , that is to say;
- summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
- requiring the appearance and production of any document;
- receiving evidence on affidavits;
- requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
- issuing commissions for the examination of documents;
- Any other matter which may be determined by the President.
It is to be remembered here that Article 338 ‘B’ (9) provides that the Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all important policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
How is the new commission different from its old form?
» The new Act recognizes that backward classes need development apart from reservation. The previous commission was restricted to work like adding and subtracting backward castes from the list. Whereas the new commission has been entrusted with the additional task of redressal of grievances of backward classes.
In addition, Article 342 (a) makes the requirement of parliamentary consent for inclusion or exclusion of any community in the list of backward classes more transparent.
| Constitutional safeguards for backward classes
There are many such provisions in the constitution for the backward classes , which protect their interests in a multi-dimensional manner; as:
Article 15(4 and 5) :- Under this, despite the things written in Article 29(2) or Article 19(1) (g), affirmative action can be taken by the state in favor of socially and educationally backward class.
Article 29 – Under this, socially and educationally backward classes get the right to maintain their language, culture or script etc.
Article 46 : – Under this, it is the duty of the government to make its policy in such a way that the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the state can be promoted.
Article 350:- Under this, for the redress of his grievance, any person has the right to make representations to any officer of the State in any language used in the Union or in the State.
Article 350 ‘A’ :- Under this, a linguistic minority can give primary education to its children in their mother tongue. And it is the duty of the President to direct the state to ensure such a system.
Article 350 ‘B’: – Under this, a President shall appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities, who shall investigate matters relating to their safeguard measures and submit them to the President, so that the President can cause them to be laid before Parliament or the State Legislature.
Article 23 : – This article protects against human trafficking and forced labor.
Along with this, efforts have been made to empower them through reservation in posts, appointments and promotions. You can read the article given below to know how this reservation works.
| closing Remarks
It is a good step to give constitutional status to the commission of backward class whose population share is about 50 percent and to increase its responsibilities. This commission has identified many backward castes and sub-castes, so that now the number of backward castes has exceeded 5 thousand.
But still, overall, its work towards social justice has not been very effective. And the same is being expected from the new commission, for many reasons such as their recommendations not being binding on the government.
You should know that there is also a recommendation of the commission which sub-divides OBCs into ‘backward’, ‘more backward’ and ‘extremely backward’ blocks. And talks about dividing the quota of 27 percent in proportion to their population. The advantage of this would have been that even among the OBCs who are capable, they could have been discouraged from reservation.
Issues like reservation are usually seen from the point of view of political advantages and disadvantages, in that context these commissions are constituted. And this commission is not in a position to change much. For this, a lot can be done such as the information related to the findings of the caste census and the recommendations of the commission can be put in the public domain by the government so that a healthy debate can be started on the issue of backward castes and the commission can move in the right direction. Apart from this, in place of vote bank politics, the path of value based politics can be followed, etc.
Overall, this is the National Commission for Backward Classes, hope you have understood. The link of some other commissions is given below and must read it as well as understand the reservation.
|Reservation in India [1/4]||[1/4]|
|Constitutional basis of reservation and its various aspects [2/4]||[2/4]|
|Evolution of Reservation [3/4]||[3/4]|
|Roster – The Maths Behind Reservation [4/4]||[4/4]|
So overall this was the National Commission for Backward Classes; Hope it is understood. You would know that Backward Classes also get the benefit of reservation in India, so read the given article for complete information regarding reservation.
⚫ Other Important Articles ⚫
Constitution of India
Commentary on constitution (fundamental rights) – d d basu
FAQs Related to Reservation