On July 31, 2107, Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 for setting up of a National Commission for Backward Classes was passed by Rajya Sabha after dropping an important clause.
Proposed Provisions of Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017:
The amendment bill seeks to insert Article 338B in the Indian Constitution. This article will list out the structure and functions of the proposed National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes. The commission will have a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other members. To hear the grievances of socially and educationally backward classes will be the main task of this commission.
- The amendment bill also seeks to insert a new article 342A which empowers the President to specify the socially and educationally backward classes by public notification.
- This bill was passed in Lok Sabha in April 2017, alongside the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 that seeks to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
Changes made by Rajya Sabha to Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017:
Rajya Sabha passed the bill by dropping Clause 3 which pertains to the insertion of a new article 338B about the constitution and powers of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
- While the clauses of the bill were being put to vote, Congressmembers moved a number of amendments to clause 3.
- One amendment sought increase in the number of members of the proposed commission from three to five with reservation for a member from a minority community and another for women. Another amendment spoke about protecting the rights of states by making their recommendations binding.
- The amended bill will now have to be returned to the Lok Sabha for its fresh approval.
- Due to prolonged discussion on 123rd Constitution Amendment Bill, 2017, a related bill — The National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 — was not taken up.