The Centre suffered a setback in the Rajya Sabha as the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes was amended by the Opposition.

The Opposition’s amendment to change the name of the proposed commission as National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes instead of National Commission for Backward Classes was approved by the House.

The Bill will now be returned to the Lok Sabha.

The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject the amendment and send it back to the Rajya Sabha. A joint session can be convened if both the Houses differ on a Bill.

No woman member The Opposition MPs had also demanded inclusion of a woman in the proposed Commission. The demand, however, was rejected by the government. “Repealing the Act of 1993 means that nothing would stay as it is and, again, the directions of the Supreme Court are being negated. So, this Commission would not help the Backward Classes and would take away the powers of the States too. They want to centralise all the powers, as they have done in other cases,” Congress MP BK Hariprasad said during the debate.

The motion to repeal the 1993 Act was not taken up as the Rajya Sabha as the Constitution Amendment Bill is yet to be passed by Parliament.