Lok Sabha clears bill allowing states to make OBC lists
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a Constitution amendment bill to give states the power to make their own lists of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The amendment was cleared with 385 members voting in its favor, however, certain amendments were rejected by the Lok Sabha. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar said the bill seeks to benefit 671 castes. Here are more details.
Lok Sabha rejected Shiv Sena's amendment 71-305
The Union Cabinet had introduced the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021, to reverse the Supreme Court's May ruling which restricted the right to create OBC lists to the central government. The Shiv Sena's amendment to the bill tabled in the Lok Sabha was, however, defeated with 305 votes against it and only 71 in favor.
Bill required 2/3rd majority to pass
The bill was cleared with 385 votes in its favor and no votes against it in the Lok Sabha. Notably, it required only a two-thirds majority to be cleared by the House. The bill would now need to be passed by a two-thirds majority in the Rajya Sabha and receive the assent of President Ram Nath Kovind before becoming an Act.
Bill introduced to undo key SC ruling
If the bill becomes an Act, states will be allowed to draw OBC lists that can be different from the Centre's list. The bill opposes a May ruling by the Supreme Court on the Maratha quota issue. The ruling had cited an August 2018 law giving constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, enabling it with special powers.
Opposition backed bill amid protests over Pegasus, other issues
The bill was backed by Opposition parties despite them rivalling the Centre over several issues, such as the Pegasus surveillance scandal, the farmers' protests over agricultural laws, a steep fuel price hike, etc. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, however, alleged that the bill could have been passed in 2018, accusing the Centre of seeking political gains ahead of state polls next year.