It’s a fraud, says BSP of Uttar Pradesh government’s move to add 17 OBC castes in SC list

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NEW DELHI: The Uttar Pradesh government’s move to include 17 communities belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list is unconstitutional as only Parliament has powers to alter the list, the BSP said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, party leader Satish Chandra Misra said under Article 341 sub clause (2) of the Constitution, the power to make changes in the SC list lies only with Parliament.

“Even President (of India) does not have the power to tinker, alter or make changes (in the list),” he said, adding these 17 castes will neither get benefits meant for OBCs nor SCs since a state government has no power to make any alteration to the SC list.

The Uttar Pradesh government had on June 24 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.

“This is an unconstitutional order and a fraud with these castes,” he said, adding these castes will now not get any benefit of OBC as they have been removed from that list and not get the SC benefit as well because amendments to the SC list are not done in the prescribed procedure under Article 342(2).

He said the BSP was in favour of including 17 castes in SC but only after following prescribed procedure and increasing SC quota proportionately.

“The power of Parliament cannot be upsurged by a state,” he said.

The BSP leader wanted the Centre to issue an advisory to the Uttar Pradesh government to withdraw the “unconstitutional order” as it is harming the castes.

The BJP government in UP is not the first to move on the 17 most backward castes in the OBC list. In 2005, the SP government of Mulayam Singh Yadav passed the first order to include 11 of these castes but the order was stayed and the proposal sent to the Centre.

Subsequently, the BSP government of Mayawati quashed the notification.

The BSP later said these castes could be included in the SC list provided the SC quota is increased. The SP government of Akhilesh Yadav cleared the inclusion proposal ahead of the 2017 assembly elections but it was challenged and is in court.

Misra said Article 341 provides that the President specify castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups to be Scheduled Castes after Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Castes.

The move by the Adityanath government comes ahead of by- elections to 12 Assembly seats in the State.

Source: Press Trust of India