Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Right to Identify and List Backward Classes

Posted On: 28 JUL 2021 3:44PM by PIB Delhi

The Constitution (One Hundred and Second) Amendment Act 2018 has inserted Article 342-A in the Constitution of India pertaining to the Central List of Socially and Educationally backward Classes (SEBCs - commonly known as other backward classes - OBCs), which had authorized the President to specify the Central list of the SEBCs, in relation to a particular State or Union Territory. Further, any modification to the central list of the SEBCs (OBCs) can be done only by the Parliament.

Hon'ble Supreme Court in W.P. 938/2020 has, on 5° May 2021, interpreted the Constitution (One Hundred and Second) Amendment Act 2018 and ordered that list specified by the President shall be the only list of SEBCs (OBCs) for all purposes of the Constitution, in relation to each State and Union Territory. The States do not have any power to publish their list of SEBCs.

The above Judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court did not take into account the legislative intent as reflected in the debates in Parliament preceding the enactment of the Amendment, where it was declared unequivocally that the Amendment would not impinge upon States' powers to recognize and declare those classes in the State which were backward. Hence a Review Petition has been filed for reconsideration of the Judgment, but the same has been dismissed.

Government is 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 for their respective States.

This information was given by The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar in the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.


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