127th Constitution Amendment Bill: The Central Government, on 9th August 2021, introduced the 127th Constitution (amendment) bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha.
- The bill seeks to restore the power of States and Union Territories to make their own OBC lists.
- The Bill was introduced in the Parliament by the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Virendra Kumar.
- It was introduced to clarify some provisions of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Bill, restoring the power of states to identify backward classes.
- As per the Indian Constitution, Articles 15 (4), 15 (5), and 16 (4) confer power on the State Government to declare and identify the list of socially and educationally backward classes.
- As a practice, separate OBC lists are drawn up by the Central Government and each State concerned.
Why is it 127th Constitution Amendment Bill needed?
- The amendment was necessitated after the Supreme Court of India (SCI) in its Maratha reservation ruling of May 2021 upheld the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act.
- However, SCI also stated that the President will determine which communities will be included on the state OBC list, on the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
- The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act of 2018 had inserted the Articles 338B and Article 342 A (with two clauses) after Article 342.
- Articles 338B deals with the structure, powers, and duties of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
- Article 342A says that the President, in consultation with the Governor, will specify the educationally and socially backward classes.
About 127th Constitution Amendment Bill:
- The Amendment Bill will amend clauses 1 and 2 of Article 342A.
- It will also introduce a new clause 3.
- It will also amend Articles 366 (26c) and 338B (9).
- The bill is designed to clarify that, State Governments can maintain a state list of OBCs, restoring the system prior to SC judgment.
- Articles 366 (26c) define the socially and educationally backward classes.
- Under the amendment, the latest ‘State List’ will be taken out of the purview of the President completely and it will be notified by State Assembly.
What is the procedure to get 127th Constitution Amendment Bill passed?
- An amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament.
- The bill must then be passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a special majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting.
- In case of disagreement between the two Houses, there is no provision for a joint sitting.
- If the amendment seeks to make any change in any of the provisions mentioned in the provision to Article 368, it must be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one-half of the states.
- Although there is no prescribed time limit for ratification, it must be completed before the amending bill is presented to the president for his assent.