Former Member of Parliament M. Ramadass has called for the immediate reconstitution of the State-level Commission for Backward Classes (SLBC), which has been lying defunct for the past five years due to government indifference.
In a press statement, Mr. Ramadass said the SLBC, a permanent body constituted in conformity with the Articles 16 and 340 of the Constitution of India, and established in Puducherry in 1998, has played a critical role in the implementation of reservation policies by the government over a period of 25 years, benefiting a large number of persons from backward and most backward communities.
It also guides and suggests to the Government of Puducherry policies intended to accelerate the social development of people.
The SLBC has so far submitted 53 vital reports on the basis of which the government has determined the quantum of reservation in education and employment to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Most Backward Classes ( MBCs), Extremely Backward Community (EBC), Backward Classes Muslims (BCM) and Backward Tribes (BT).
As a vibrant and constitutionally-designed institution, the SLBC is normally reconstituted once in three years and hitherto the Commission has been reconstituted six times and the life of the sixth reconstituted Commission ended in May, 2018. However, the SLBC has become non-functional in the last five years due to the failure of the government to reconstitute the Commission, Mr. Ramadass said.
Leaving alone the omission of the previous Narayanasamy-led Congress government in reconstituting the Commission, the ruling NDA government which assumed office in May 2021 has also not evinced any interest in the Commission in the last two years and has not initiated any move to revive it, he said.
According to the former MP, none in the government, including the Lieutenant Governor or Chief Minister—seemed to realise that a constitutionally-recognised permanent body was being allowed to have a natural death. This has been similar to the way successive governments have deliberately debilitated the constitutionally-recognised third tier of government — the local bodies — for the last 12 years and failed in the constitutional responsibility of holding elections.
He wondered whether the Rangasamy-led government has chosen to survive on its charitable schemes rather than the permanent social development of its people.
As a consequence of the dysfunctional state of the SLBC, complaints/representations submitted by the public to the Commission remain unattended in the absence of a regular Chairman and a body. Several students aspiring to pursue higher education with proper reservation suffer due to the apathy and indifference of the government. Recently, the Madras High Court had directed the petitioner of a case relating to EBC of Karaikal to approach the SLBC of Puducherry for a judgment. The students of Karaikal need a solution before the beginning of the academic year.
In these circumstances, the immediate reconstitution of SLBC assumes urgency and the Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister needed to devote personal attention to this issue, Mr. Ramadass said.