Commission to investigate the issues related to sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes

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Commission to investigate the issues related to sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes

Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the eleventh extension in the tenure of the Commission constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution to look into the issues related to sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the Central List.

Background:

  • It may be noted that the proposal for sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBC) was introduced by the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) in the year 2015.
  • The Commission was constituted under article 340 of the Constitution with the approval of President on 2nd October, 2017. The Commission, headed by Justice (Retd.) Smt. G. Rohini commenced functioning on 11th October, 2017 and has since interacted with all the Stats/UTs which have subcategorized OBCs, and the State Backward Classes Commissions. The Commission has come to the view that it would require some more time to submit, its report since the repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription etc appearing in the existing Central List of OBCs need to be cleared. Hence the Commission has sought extension of its term by six, that is upto 31st July 2020 and also addition in its existing Terms of Reference.

About ‘Article 340’:

  • Under Article 340 of the Constitution of India, a provision has been made for the appointment of a commission to inquire into the conditions of the backward classes.
  • Under this, the President can appoint a commission to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India. In this commission, the President may include such persons for investigation as he thinks fit.

Constitutional Basis:

  • The Constitution guarantees ‘equality before the law’ under Article 14. This means that non-equals cannot be treated equally. Therefore, in order to bring the upper classes on an equal footing, the need to take measures for the upliftment of the non-equals has been said in the Constitution.
  • Under Article 16(4) of the Constitution provides: “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the state.”

Need for Sub-Classification:

  • The sub-categorization of the OBC group would ensure the benefit of reservation in educational institutions and government jobs to the more backward groups among the OBC communities.
  • At present, there is no sub-categorization in Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 27 percent reservation is provided to all the communities combined together.

Source – The Hindu

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