What is the Other Backward Classes (OBC) Bill 2021?

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After the bipartisan support of political parties and voting session members, the Lok Sabha passed the Other Backward Classes (OBC) bill on August 10, which is the One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment to Constitution. It will allow states and union territories to maintain their OBC list.

Those who favoured the bill included 385 members of the parliament, while no one opposed it. The motive behind bringing this is that if the state list gets invalidated, over 600 OBC communities would lack the facility of reservations in appointments, including educational institutions, affecting one-fifth of the total OBC communities.

“Passage of the Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021 in both Houses is a landmark moment for our nation. This Bill furthers social empowerment. It also reflects our Government’s commitment to ensuring dignity, opportunity and justice to the marginalised sections,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The bill would recognise the Other Backward Classes that are socially and economically backward; It came following the Apex Court verdict in May 2021, which had granted the Central government such activity.

The SC, in its verdict on Maratha reservations, validated the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act that consisted of Articles 338B and 342 A (with two clauses) after Article 342, which stated the President of India, in advice from governors, would mention socially and economically backward classes, withdrawing the powers of state governments to do so.

According to the news agency PTI, Lead speaker for the Opposition and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary said, “You (BJP) tweaked the Constitution by bringing the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2018, which gave people the opportunity to go to the courts and finally the Supreme Court removed the States’ power.” He added, “We support the Bill but our demand is to remove the 50% ceiling in reservation. You should listen to the States, make it legal for States to cross the 50% ceiling.”

DMK’s T.R. Baalu and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav also supported the same subject that Chowdhary stated. In contrast, the central government specified its commitment to social justice.

In Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition, said, “All Opposition parties will support 127th Constitution Amendment Bill 2021 being introduced in Parliament today.” The opposition’s need to endorse the bill is there because the constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority of lawmakers available during the proceedings, with nearly 50% in attendance.

Moreover, three states in India — Haryana Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh — have announced quotas that break the aggregate 50 per cent ceiling. In contrast, some others, comprising Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Jharkhand, have requested the Apex Court to raise the quota ceiling.