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Constitutional Status to Backward Classes Body Won’t Impinge on State Powers: Gehlot

In the case of OBCs, however, the current status provides for separate state and central lists. Some castes in the state lists are not in the central list, rendering them outside the purview of quota.

Sumit Pande | CNN-News18

Updated:April 7, 2017, 6:22 PM IST
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Constitutional Status to Backward Classes Body Won’t Impinge on State Powers: Gehlot
File photo: Social Justice Minister Thawar Chandra Gehlot
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New Delhi: Social Justice Minister Thawar Chandra Gahlot has sought to allay fears that the proposed law to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes would over-ride states’ power to hold a separate list of backward classes for the purpose of providing reservations in state services and educational institutions.

During the discussion on the bill in Parliament, some parties had expressed apprehensions that the statute will impinge on federal structure of the polity.

"It would not have any bearing on the powers of the state governments,” Gehlot told CNN-News18.

The confusion is on account of the insertion of Article 342 (A) in the Constitution. The clause to be inserted by way of constitutional amendment is identical to the clause making similar provision for the SC/STs.

However, for SC/STs, the state and central list is the same, and any changes — inclusion or exclusion of castes — can be done only through parliamentary approval.

In the case of OBCs, however, the current status provides for separate state and central lists. Some castes in the state lists are not in the central list, rendering them outside the purview of quota.

B Mahtab of the BJD, while speaking on the bill, raised the issue in Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The constitution amendment bill needs to be passed by both Houses of Parliament by a two-thirds majority. And there are indications that the Opposition may ask the bill to be sent to a slect commitee of the Rajya Sabha.

"There seems to be some ambiguity in this regard. And we will seek clarifications from the government,” said D Raja of the CPI.

| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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