Opposition parties have decided to support the Constitution amendment bill which will be tabled for passage today. The bill seeks to restore the power that allowed states and UTs to make their own OBC lists.
After weeks of standoff with the government resulting in a logjam in Parliament, opposition parties have decided to support the Constitution amendment bill which will be tabled for passage. The bill seeks to restore the power that allowed states and UTs to make their own OBC lists.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill 2021 was cleared by the Union Cabinet last week and will be introduced in Parliament today.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said, “In the interest of the community and the country, leaders of all Opposition parties will support this bill which gives states the right to make additions to the OBC list. We want due discussion before the bill is passed on the floor of the house.”
At the same time, Mallikarjun Kharge clarified that the move to cooperate with the government in Parliament applies to the constitution amendment bill only and does not extend to other issues.
“Other issues are a different matter altogether, but we are ready to get this bill passed,” said the Rajya Sabha MP.
The decision was announced by Kharge shortly after leaders of 15 Opposition parties met at the Parliament House complex on Monday. During the meeting, the MPs reportedly devised a common strategy to corner the government on a host of issues like the Pegasus spyware row and farmers’ concerns.
Delhi | Opposition leaders arrive at the Parliament for a meeting to chalk out a strategy for the last week of the Monsoon Session pic.twitter.com/91F6iFgLVI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, along with legislators from DMK, TMC, NCP, Shiv Sena, SP, CPM, RJD, AAP, CPI, NC among others were present at the meeting held in the chambers of LoP Mallikarjun Kharge.
WHAT IS THE CONSTITUTION 127TH AMENDMENT BILL?
On May 5, the Supreme Court had ruled that the 102nd Constitution Amendment Act took away states’ power to declare Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) for grant of quota in jobs and admissions.
The constitutional amendment took away states’ power to declare Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) for grant of quota in jobs and admissions. The verdict essentially vested sole power with the Centre to identify the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) list.
An appeal by the government seeking review of the majority verdict was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Opposition parties had accused the Centre of assaulting the federal structure by taking away the power of the states to identify and list the other backward classes (OBCs).
However, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar told Rajya Sabha last month that the government was in consultation with legal experts and the Ministry of Law and examining ways to protect the power of the states in determining the State list of OBCs.
As a workaround to the Supreme Court directive, the Constitution 127th Amendment Bill is expected to amend Articles 342 A — clauses 1 and 2 — and introduce clause 342 A (3) specifically authorising states to maintain their state list.