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U.P. move to shift 17 OBCs to SC list ‘unconstitutional’: Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot

It's a transgression of Parliament’s jurisdiction, he says.

July 02, 2019 02:58 pm | Updated 06:34 pm IST - New Delhi:

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. File

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. File

The Uttar Pradesh government’s move to relist 17 OBCs (Other Backward Classes)in the Schedule Caste list is unconstitutional and it is a transgression of Parliament’s jurisdiction, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

“This is not proper and not constitutional,” Mr. Gehlot said in reply to BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra, who raised the issue during the Zero Hour.

On June 24, the 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.

Agreeing with Mr. Misra, Mr Gehlot said only Parliament haD the right to alter the notified list. “This issue came to Parliament a couple of times but no consensus could be formed.” If the government followed the due process, then it could be considered, he noted.

“I would request the State government not to make caste certificates on the basis of such orders because they will be dismissed by the courts and it will be of no help to anyone,” he added.

Mr. Misra said under Article 341 sub clause (2) of the Constitution, the power to make changes in the SC list lay only with Parliament. “Even President [of India] does not have the power to tinker, alter or make changes [in the list],” he said. These 17 castes would neither get the benefits meant for OBCs nor SCs since the State government had no power to make any alteration to the SC list.

He said that when the BSP was in power, it had tried to include the 17 castes in the SC list but could not manage to do so in Parliament. “The power of Parliament cannot be usurped by a state,” he pointed out. Mr. Misra said the Union government should issue an advisory, clearly stating that the State government’s order was “unconstitutional” and should be withdrawn with immediate effect. 

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