RS passes Scheduled Castes (Amdt) Bill, adds new castes

Raj Kamal Rao
Social Justice Mnister Thawar Chand Gahlot speaking in Rajya Sabha

Social Justice Mnister Thawar Chand Gahlot speaking in Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016  with voice vote after it was moved by Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. Bill as passed by Rajya Sabha includes certain Scheduled Castes from states like Haryana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states that the Bill has been introduced to give effect to the changes proposed by the states.

Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment initiated the discussion on the bill said that all the communities mentioned in the amendment bill have been referred by respective state governments and approved by Registrar General of India.

Shamsher Singh Dullo of the Congress party said that including scheduled cast people in the list is welcome step as they become eligible for opportunities in employment.

“I support the bill.But I object the politicisation of the issue….,” he said.

SP MP Vishambar Prasad Nishad asked the government to add few communities from Uttar Pradesh which is not part of the present bill, which however, was rejected by the Minister.

Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of Samajwadi Party speaking in Rajya Sabha

Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of Samajwadi Party speaking in Rajya Sabha

BSP demanded the government to increase the reservation allotted to Scheduled Casts according to the fresh additions of communities to the list.

“We are adding communities year after year, only their number is increasing. Reservation is not changing,” said BSP MP Veer Singh.

Making a reference to the Hyderabad Central University scholar Rohith Vemula, CPI MP D Raja said discrimination based on cast must be acted with the toughest punishment.

“Will government consideration to the issue of discrimination shown in higher education institutions,” asked CPI MP Raja.

Raja has also asked to give statutory powers to commissions dealing with Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes.

Communities like Aheria, Heri, etc of Haryana, Mannan and Pathiyan of Kerala along with other communities in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

While concluding the debate, Minister Gehlot said that transparency has been brought in issuing cast certificates. On adding new communities he said that “addition can happen only after a formal proposal from the state and Scheduled Cast Commission.”

Gehlot also said that PM has directed all bank branched to give loans to at least two members from Scheduled Cast to encourage their financial activity.

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 1, 2016 by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot.  It was passed by Lok Sabha on March 15, 2016.  The Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.

Insertion of specific communities into the list of notified Scheduled Castes (SC). The Constitution empowers the President of India to specify the Scheduled Castes in various states and union territories