National Commission for Backward Classes
The NCBC is a body set up under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. It has the power to examine complaints regarding inclusion or exclusion of groups within the list of backward classes, and advise the central government in this regard.
Composition of the commission
Commission will consist of the following 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 matters relating 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.
The Central Government will also provide the Commission with such officers and employees as may be necessary for the efficient performance of the functions of the Commission.
Functions of the Commission
The Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate.
The advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government.
Powers of the Commission
The Commission shall, while performing its functions have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular, in respect of the following matters, namely:
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
- Requiring the discovery and production of any document;
- Receiving evidence on affidavits;
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
- Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents; and
- Any other matter which may be prescribed.
102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 (Constitutional status to backward classes commission)
The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot on April 5, 2017. It seeks to grant the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status, at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
- Article 340 deals with the need to, inter alia, identify those “socially and educationally backward classes”, understand the conditions of their backwardness, and make recommendations to remove the difficulties they face.
- 102nd Constitution Amendment Act inserted new Articles 338 B and 342 A.
- The amendment also brings about changes in Article 366.
- Article 338B provides authority to NCBC to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.
- Article 342 A empowers President to specify socially and educationally backward classes in various states and union territories. He can do this in consultation with Governor of concerned State. However, law enacted by Parliament will be required if list of backward classes is to be amended.
Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include:
- Investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented,
- Inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights, and
- Advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes. The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
- It presents to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards. The President laid such reports before each House of Parliament.
- It has all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit.
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