Statutory Institutions/Commissions: National Backward Classes Commission
The Government of India passed the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 (Act No. 27 of 1993) to establish a National Commission for Backward Classes as a permanent body. It can be said that National Commission for Backward Classes is an Indian statutory body formed on 14 August 1993, under the provisions of National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. The commission was the consequence of the direction of the Supreme Court in the Mandal case judgement. As per record, the number of backward castes in Central list of OBCs has amplified to 5,013 (without the figures for most of the Union Territories) in 2006 as per National Commission for Backward Classes. In October 2015, National Commission for Backward Classes suggested that a person belonging to OBC with an annual family income of up to Rs 15 lakh should be considered as minimum ceiling for OBC. National Commission for Backward Classes 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 benefits.
Composition of National Commission for Backward Classes:
The commission include 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 matters relating to backward classes.
- 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.
- Chairperson: Justice Vangala Eshwaraiah
- Member Secretary: Rakesh Srivastava
- Member: S.K.Kharventhan
- Member: A. K. Saini
- Member: Shakeel-uz-Zaman Ansari
Appointment of National Commission for Backward Classes:
Members and other executives of the National Commission for Backward Classes are appointed on following basis:
- The President of India may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks suitable to investigate the conditions of the socially and educationally backward classes within the region of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties and to improve their condition and as to the grants that should be made for the purpose by the Union or any State and the conditions subject to which such grants should be made, and the order appointing such Commission shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission.
- A Commission, so appointed, shall examine the matters referred to them and present to the President a report stating the facts as found by them and make appropriate recommendations.
- The President shall cause a copy of the report so presented together with a memorandum explaining the action taken thereon to be laid before each house of Parliament.
For the National Commission for Backward Classes, India follows a specific organizational structure. This structure includes 8 departments under the Chairman of the Commission. These departments are listed below:
- The Administrative Division
- The Research Division
- The Directorate
- The Research Officers
- The Under Secretary
- The Section Officer
- The Research Wing.
Functions and power of National Commission for Backward Classes:
The commission considers inclusions in and exclusions from the lists of communities notified as backward for the purpose 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 established 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 authorized 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 relating to Backward Classes.
Major Functions of the National Commission for Backward Classes are as under:
- Under Section 9(1) of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, the Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the Central List of Backward Classes and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in the lists and tender such advice to the Union Government as it deems appropriate.
- Under Section 9(2) of the Act, The advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government.
- Under Section 11(1) of the Act, the Central Government may at any time, and shall, at the expiration of 10 years from the coming into force of this Act and every succeeding period of ten years thereafter, undertake revision of the lists with a view to excluding from such lists those classes who have ceased to be backward classes or for including in such lists new backward classes.
- Under Section 11(2) of the Act, the Central Government shall, while undertaking any revision referred to in sub-section (1) consult the Commission.
The Government of India has also advanced the principles for exclusion of certain socially advanced persons and sections ‘called the Creamy Layer’ from the benefits of reservation available to OBCs in civil posts and services under the Government of India.
Commission has the authority to make important decisions for which commission had been constituted and meet the members of the commission at the specified time and place as chairperson (head of the commission) thinks fit as provided under Section 8. Commission has specified objective as it functions as provided under Section 9, commission on requests examine for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the list and hear grievances as complaints for any over-inclusion and under-inclusion. Commission shall have the authority to tender any advice to the Central Government regarding inclusion of class of citizens in backward class list and advice of the commission be binding on the Central Government as it deem fit. Apart from functions commission has some powers as specified under Section 10 of the Act, Commission while performing its functions under Section 9 (1) have all powers of civil court trying a suit and matters leading to summoning and examining the oath receiving evidence of affidavits and matters connected thereto.
Central Government is authorized to make periodic review after the expiration of ten years from the force of the Act and every subsequent period of ten years review the list to check the classes which exclude from lists which has to be included and inclusion of classes from lists which has to be excluded. Central Government while making any amendment, it has to consult the commission under Section 11(1) for the changes and alterations which has to be made in the form of revision. Central Government by notification in the official gazette has great powers to devise rules and remove problems as provided in Section 17 and 18 of the Act, which includes the power to make rules regarding the salaries and other allowance given to members of commission as dealt in Section 4 and 5 of the Act.
As Act and Commission established under Act declares about Backward Classes and request for inclusion in list of Backward Classes. There are some factors and guidelines needs to be followed for inclusion and complaints to be made under inclusion in the backward classes as specified in the Act. Commission founded under the Act after studying the report framed by Mandal Commission and other materials formulated the guidelines for requests for inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes. The main factors involved for request of inclusion list of backward classes are Social, Educational, and Economic. Basically, The Mandal Commission was constituted in India in 1979 by the Janata Party government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai with a directive to "identify the socially or educationally backward." It was supervised by Indian parliamentarian B.P. Mandal to consider the question of seat reservations and quotas for people to redress caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness. In 1980, the commission's report avowed the affirmative action practice under Indian law whereby members of lower castes (known as Other Backward Classes (OBC), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST)) were given exclusive access to a certain portion of government Jobs and slots in public universities, and recommended changes to these quotas, increasing them by 27% to 50%. Mobilization on caste lines had followed the political empowerment of ordinary citizens by the constitution of free India that allowed common people to politically declare themselves through the right to vote. The Mandal Commission implemented different tactics to collect the indispensable data and evidence. In order to identify who qualified as an "other backward class," the commission adopted eleven criteria which could be grouped under three major headings: social, educational and economic. 11 criteria were developed to identify OBCs.
Social factor involves the caste and community which generally considered as socially backward which has to be included in list of backward classes, term castes specified in the social backward classes categorized as Criminal Tribes under Criminal Tribes Act, 1924 and repealed by the Criminal Tribes (Repeal) Act, 1952. Educational qualification not only has its role in social and economic but also has its existence for request of inclusion in the list of backward classes, request of castes and communities whose literary rate is at least 8% less than state or district average be included in the backward classes. Besides social and education economic criteria, social factor also cover way for the inclusion of list in backward class by nature of population.
In general, the commission constituted under National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 deals with the matter for inclusions in and exclusions from the lists of communities notified as backward classes and notified by the Central Government mainly for the purpose of job reservations and tenders. As not everyone from the upper-class are rich and lower classes are poor, government while dividing people not to be interfered with political advantage, as reservation policy creates a turbulence in the Indian society. Citizens been scrum bled based on the reservation policies formulated by the government as it has effect only to the jobs and tenders and not for improving the primary and secondary education. Government should take suitable measures keeping all the necessary factors including primary education which has its higher role in social and economic development of nation.
To summarize, National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 was enacted to shield backward section of society in India. The commission considers inclusions and exclusions from the lists of communities notified as backward for the purpose of job reservations and tenders, the needful advice to the Central Government as per Section 9(1) of the NCBC Act, 1993.