Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC)
2021 AUG 7
Constitution > Indian Constitution > Reservations
Why in news?
- The Kerala High Court has stayed the government order including Nadars belonging to Christian religious denominations other than South Indian United Church (SIUC) in the list of socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) for providing employment and educational benefits.
More about the news:
- The petitioners in this case contended that in the light of the provision contained in Article 342-A introduced to the Constitution in terms of the 102nd Amendment with effect from August 15, 2018, the State government had been divested of its power to specify any class of persons as socially and educationally backward.
- In fact, only the President of India had the power to make such specifications. Therefore, the order issued by the government was unconstitutional as it was against Article 342-A.
About Socially and Educationally Backward Classes
- Other Backward Class (OBC) is the collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are educationally or socially disadvantaged.
- It is one of several official classifications of the population of India, along with General Class, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs).
- In the Constitution of India, OBCs are described as socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC)
- A definition of ‘SEBCs’ was added to the Constitution under article 342A through 102nd Constitution Amendment
About 102nd Constitution Amendment:
- 102nd Constitution Amendment Act had introduced Articles 338B and 342A in the Constitution.
- Article 338B
- It states that there shall be a Commission for the socially and educationally backward classes to be known as the National Commission for Backward Classes
- Constitution also states that members of the Commission are appointed by President
- Constitutional entrusts the commission with following duties:
- Monitoring safeguards provided for socially and educationally backward classes
- Giving advice on their socio-economic development
- Inquiring into complaints and making recommendations
- Centre and the States shall consult the Commission on all policy matters concerning the SEBCs.
- Article 342A
- It empowers the President to specify the socially and educationally backward communities in a State/UT.
- States could only make suggestions to the President for inclusion, exclusion or modification of castes and communities to be included in the List.
- Once this ‘Central List’ is notified, only Parliament could make inclusions or exclusions in the list by law.
- In the task of identification of SEBCs, the President shall be guided by the National Commission for Backward Classes set up under Article 338B
- This provision is drafted in exactly the same word as the one concerning the lists of SC/ST
In the context of Indian Constitution, consider the following statements:
1. Article 342 A of the Constitution empowers Governor to specify the socially and educationally backward communities in a State
2. Constitution empowers President to appoint members of the National Commission for Backward Classes
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2