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Centre: UP govt order shifting 17 OBCs to SC list ‘unconstitutional’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 02, 2019 Published on July 02, 2019

The Centre agreed with the Opposition’s stand that the Uttar Pradesh government’s recent order that brought 17 OBC communities under Scheduled Castes (SC) is unconstitutional and said Parliament can make changes to it.

Replying to the Opposition’s questions during zero hour in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said he will urge the State government to change the order.

“The order that they (UP government) have issued now is not in accordance with the Constitution. I will request you not to issue caste certificates based on the order, else the matter will go to courts; it will be struck down and nobody will get benefit,” Gehlot said. The matter was first raised by BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra and was supported bymembers cutting across party lines.

On June 24, the Yogi Adityanath government directed district magistrates and commissioners to issue caste certificates to 17 OBCs —Kashyap, Rajbhar, Dhivar, Bind, Kumhar, Kahar, Kewat, Nishad, Bhar, Mallah, Prajapati, Dhimar, Batham, Turha, Godia, Manjhi and Machua. Gehlot said the UP government has not followed any procedures in preparing such a list. He asked them to send a proposal to the Centre for consideration.

“The order of the UP government is not in accordance with the Constitution,” he said and added that shifting of one category to another caste category falls under Parliament’s jurisdiction.

“In the past also, three-four similar proposals were sent to Parliament, but were not agreed upon,” he said.

Mishra said in his submission, “Even President (of India) does not have the power to tinker, alter or make changes (in the list),” he said. He added that his party was in favour of including 17 castes under SC but only after following prescribed procedure and increasing SC quota proportionately. “The power of Parliament cannot be usurped by a State,” he said.

Published on July 02, 2019
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