National Commission for Backward Classes 2018- A critical Analysis - Seeker's Thoughts

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

National Commission for Backward Classes 2018- A critical Analysis


When NCBC was set up? The NCBC is a body set up under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993

What is National Commission for Backward classes- Under the Constitution the National Commission for Schedule Casts or NCSC has the power to look into complaints and welfare measures with regard to Scheduled Castes, backward classes and Anglo-Indians. So the Indian government decided to bring a different constitutional body specially for Backward Classes.

What is the matter and new things in the bill? 



The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment,  Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot on April 5, 2017.  It seeks to grant the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status, at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

The Bill seeks to remove the power of the NCSC to examine matters related to backward classes.
The Bill seeks to establish the NCBC under the Constitution, and provide it the authority to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.

Note that this Bill was introduced alongside the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 that seeks to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.

Constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes
Backward classes:  The Constitution Amendment Bill states that the President may specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories.  He may do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state.  However, a law of Parliament will be required if the list of backward classes is to be amended.

Composition and service conditions:  Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will comprise of five members appointed by the President.  Their tenure and conditions of service will also be decided by the President through rules.

Functions:  Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include:
 (i) investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented, 
(ii) inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights, and 
(iii) advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes.  The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.

The NCBC will be required to present annual reports to the President on working of the safeguards for backward classes.  These reports will be tabled in Parliament, and in the state legislative assemblies of the concerned states.

Powers of a civil court:  Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while investigating or inquiring into any complaints.  
These powers include: (i) summoning people and examining them on oath, (ii) requiring production of any document or public record, and (iii) receiving evidence.

Criticism- India has failed to address the issues between class and caste. The current NCBC was created in 1993. The new provision article 338 B is identical to the Article 338 A which created the national commission for SC and ST.

The 123rd Amendment Bill brings backward classes like SC /ST as a victim of discrimination, exclusion and violence.

1.      It lacks historical justification regarding backwardness of classes. 

2.      It is bound to create more problems as now issues may be more politically motivated.

3.      The task of identifying backward classes remains unclear.

4.      Parliament will determine the category of Backward Classes in Central list instead of Earlier National Commission for Backward classes under article 340 of the Indian Constitution.  New amendment delinks article 340 related to backward classes. . 

6.      NCBC will hear grievances; inquire into complaints, summons officials given its power as a civil court,

7.      Two constitutional bodies may clash as sometimes as conflict of interest between National Commission for Backward classes and National Commission for Schedule Class may arise.