National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)


National Commission for Backward Classes

The Supreme Court of India in its Judgment dated 16.11.1992 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 930 of 1990 – Indra Sawhney &Ors. Vs. Union of India and Ors., reported in (1992) Supp. 3 SCC 217 operated the Govt. of India, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations to constitute a permanent body in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal for entertaining, studying and recommending upon requests for inclusion and complaints of over-inclusion and under-inclusion in the list of OBCs.

 Pursuant to the direction of the Supreme Court, the Government of India enacted the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 (Act No. 27 of 1993) for establishing a Commission at National Level viz. “National Commission for Backward Classes” as a permanent body.

 The Act came into operation on the 2nd of April, 1993. Section 3 of the Act provides that the Commission shall consist of five Members, consisting of a Chairperson who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court; a social scientist; two persons, who have special knowledge in issues concerning to backward classes; and a Member-Secretary, who is or has been an officer of the Central Government in the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India.

Statutory Backing

The commission was the consequence of Indra Sawhney &Ors. Vs. Union of India. The Supreme Court of India in its Judgement dated 16.11.1992 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 930 of 1990 – Indra Sawhney &Ors. Vs. Union of India and Ors., reported in (1992) Supp. 3 SCC 217 directed the Government of India, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations to constitute a permanent body in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal for entertaining, surveying and recommending upon requests for inclusion and complaints of over-inclusion and under-inclusion in the list of OBCs. The Supreme Court held that the Constitution recognized only social and educational — and not economic — backwardness.

The number of backward castes in Central list of OBCs has now increased to 5,013 (without the figures for most of the Union Territories) in 2006 as per the National Commission for Backward Classes. In October 2015, National Commission for Backward Classes proposed that a person belonging to OBC with an annual family income of up to ₹15 lakhs should be related as a minimum ceiling for OBC. NCBC also recommended sub-division of OBCs into ‘backward’, ‘more backward’ and ‘extremely backward’ blocs and divide 27% quota amongst them in proportion to their population, to ensure that stronger OBCs don’t corner the quota advantages.

Article 338B of the Indian Constitution

The NCBC Bill, passed by Lok Sabha in 2017, will insert Article 338B into the Constitution after Articles 338 and 338A which deal with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (ST) consequently.

Composition

Section 3 of the Act gives that the Commission shall consist of five Members: a Chairperson who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court; a social scientist; two persons who have special knowledge in issues concerning to backward classes; and a Member-Secretary, who is or has been an officer of the Central Government in the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India. Their term is of Three years.

Functions and power

The commission related inclusions in and exclusions from the lists of communities notified as backward for the reason of job reservations and tenders the needful advice to the Central Government as per Section 9(1) of the NCBC Act, 1993. Similarly, the states have also constituted commissions for BC’s. As of 24 July 2014 over two thousand groups have been listed as OBCs. Both the National Commission for Backward Classes and National Commission for Scheduled Castes have the same powers as a Civil Court. National Commission for Backward Classes has not yet been empowered to look into the grievances of persons of Other Backward Classes. Under Article 338(5) read with Article 338(10) of the Constitution, National Commission for Scheduled Castes is the competent authority to look into all the grievances, rights and safeguards concerning to Backward Classes.

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