National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is a constitutional body, the 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provided constitutional status to it.
Initially, it was constituted as a statutory body under the provisions of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) have the same powers as a Civil Court, like its counterpart commissions - National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
102nd Constitution Amendment Act inserted new Articles 338 B and 342 A. The amendment was the outcome of Indra Sawhney & Others vs Union of India, 1992.
Article 338BArticle 338B deals with the newly established National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
The Commission consists of five members including a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other Members appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
The Commission shall have the power to regulate its own procedure.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes and to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of them.
The commission is also mandated to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
Article 342 AArticle 342A empowers the President to specify the socially and educationally backward communities in a State. It says that it is for the Parliament to include a community in the Central List for socially and backward classes for grant of reservation benefits.
Only the President could make changes to the Central List of socially and backward classes based on data given from various sources, including the National Commission for Backward Classes. The States could only make "suggestions".
Indra Sawhney & Others vs Union of India, 1992In 1980, the Second Backward Classes Committee, headed by BP Mandal, submitted its report. The report recommended 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 22.5 percent for the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.
In Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, 1992 case a nine-judge Bench of the court had drawn the "Lakshman rekha" for reservation in jobs and education at 50%, except in "extraordinary circumstances".
The bench also upheld separate reservation for OBC in central government jobs, but excluded these to the "creamy layer".
The creamy layer is only applicable in the case of Other Backward Castes and not applicable on other group like SC or ST.
The court directed the government to constitute a permanent body in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal for entertaining, examining 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 recognised only social and educational - and not economic - backwardness.
However, over the years, several States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have crossed the rubicon and passed laws which allows reservation shooting over 60%.
The SC has now decided to examine its nearly three decade old judgment, and invited states to make their stand clear on the question of whether reservation should continue to remain within the 50% boundary or not.
Related InfoArticles 338 and 338A deal with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (ST) respectively.
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