The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the The Constitution (123rd Amendment) bill that grants constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, ANI reported.
Union minister Thanwarchand Gehlot, who moved the bill, said the commission’s suggestions will not be binding on any state. The panel will be considered on a par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Earlier on Thursday, Rajya Sabha chairperson Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House after protests by Opposition legislators against the National Register of Citizens draft published in Assam.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that the Centre wants to pass the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Bill during the Monsoon Session underway in Parliament, ANI reported. Singh was responding to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s claim that the Bharatiya Janata Party was not doing enough to strengthen the legislation.
“The prime minister had already assured us that the government will not allow dilution of the Act,” Singh said.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, on the other hand, criticised Congress leaders for opposing the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes bill. “In the morning, [Congress MP] Mallikarjun Kharge was agitated. But why did Congress President Rahul Gandhi not speak a work on it during the debate on no-confidence motion?” Paswan asked.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday agreed to introduce a bill in Parliament to reinstate the original provisions of the Act. The decision followed an ultimatum set by ruling coalition partner Lok Janshakti Party and several Dalit organisations demanding that the original provisions of the law be restored after the Supreme Court bench diluted it in March.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that Assam legislators be given an opportunity to weigh in on the controversial document that aims to verify Indian citizens in the state. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Goel concurred.
Legislators of the Telugu Desam Party continued to protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament on Thursday, demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. MP Naramalli Sivaprasad arrived at the demonstration in a magician’s attire, ANI reported. Earlier, he had dressed up as a woman, a washerman and a school boy.
The Rajya Sabha had also been adjourned on Wednesday after Opposition MPs protested against the draft of the National Register of Citizens. Several legislators shouted slogans including “prime minister jawab do [Answer, prime minister]” when Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah was asked to conclude his statement on the NRC.