Amidst a turbulent monsoon session of the parliament marred by many controversies including the opposition demanding a debate on the pegasus snooping brown and the government passing bills without discussion, the opposition and ruling parties finally sat down in peace on Tuesday to pass the OBC bill. The lower house of the parliament- Lok Sabha- approved the 127th Constitution Amendment bill to restore the right of states to identify and provide reservation benefits to other backward castes (OBC).
Whilst the opposition was demanding a call back of the 3 farm bills and protesting in Rajya sabha, the scenes in Lok Sabha were completely different as the entire house supported the bill and debated for more than six hours. At the time of voting for the bill, 385 members voted for the bill, no one opposed it and it was subsequently passed 385-0.
The new bill will restore the states’ rights to prepare their own lists of OBCs so that various communities can be given social and economic justice.
While the debate was going on many parties, including those in Opposition as well as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allies, demanded that the current 50% cap on reservations should be lifted.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary said he and his party extends full supports to the bill but demanded the 50% cap on reservations be removed. “We support this bill but our demand is to remove 50% ceiling (in reservation). You should listen to states, make it legal for states to cross the 50 per cent ceiling,” he said.
The union minister for Social justice and empowerment- Virendra Kumar, described the bill as a “historic legislation” that would benefit 671 castes in the country. He also added that said the bill will restore the states’ rights to prepare their own lists of OBCs so that various communities can be given social and economic justice. After the bill was passed he tweeted, “I am grateful to all the members of the Lok Sabha for strengthening the federal structure of India.”
Many leaders of various parties such as Janata Dal (United) MP Lalan Singh, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Ritesh Pandey and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s T R Baalu also demanded a caste census be conducted throughout the country.