Rajya Sabha passes bill; NCBC to get Constitutional Status

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The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017, which gives constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), thus granting it statutory powers.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Thawar Chand Gehlot moved the bill for discussion in the Rajya Sabha, which was passed unanimously with 165 votes to nil.

The Rajya Sabha had earlier passed the measure on July 31st 2017, and sent it to the lower house along with an amendment. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill last week with alternate amendments along with more changes, unanimously, with over two-thirds of the majority.

Thawar Chand Gehlot said that the passing of this bill would help the backward classes fight against atrocities and ensure quick justice to them.

On suggestions by the opposition parties, Gehlot said that NCBC would have one female member and one member from the minority community. He further stated that the bill would not encroach on the rights of the state governments as they would have their own commissions for backward classes.

The NCBC got constitutional status after the passage of this bill, after half the states approved it with a simple majority, with President Ram Nath Kovind giving his nod to the legislation.

This amendment will insert a new article titled ‘Article 338-B‘ into the constitution. Article 338-B states that ‘There shall be a commission for the socially and educationally backward  classes to be known as the National Commission for Backward Classes’.

The NCBC will have all the powers of a civil court. It will be able to summon and enforce the attendance of any person from any part of India and examine him/her under oath. It can ask for the production of any document, and receive evidence on affidavits.

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