OBC Amendment Bill, 2021

The Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021, which was unanimously passed by both the Houses, seeks to restore the states’ power to make their own OBC lists. The bill seeks to reverse a recent SC verdict and give back power to states and UTs to notify their respective lists.

Why is the bill needed?

The bill is needed because if the state list gets nullified, then more than 600 OBC communities would lose access to reservations in appointments as well as in educational institutions thus impacting at least one-fifth of the total OBC communities.

The need for this amendment arose after the Supreme Court in its Maratha reservation ruling upheld the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act. The Supreme Court, however, said that the President, depending on the recommendations made by the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) which would decide which communities would be part of the state OBC list.

Objective of the bill

The objective is to “adequately clarify that the states and Union territories are empowered to prepare and maintain their own lists of SEBCs (Socially and Educationally Backward Classes”. The Bill seeks to set right a couple of ‘mistakes’ in Article 338B. This article, inserted by the Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act 2018, had set up the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) as a constitutional body.

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