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A constitution amendment bill which was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday regarding the upgrade of the Backward Classes Commission from a statutory body into a constitutional body witnessed the ruling government failing to succeed in including its desired composition clause.
The upgrade of Backward Classes Commission from a statutory body to a constitutional body will grant it powers equal to that of a court to summon people and inquire into incidents of violence and discrimination against backward classes.
Following a day-long discussion, Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, BK Hariprasad and Hussain Dalwai moved an amendment that the 5 members of the Backward Classes Commission have to be from the OBC community and that one has to be a woman and another has to be from a minority community.
The government protested to the composition, as Union minister Arun Jaitley said that such a provision will bar the entry of members of other communities in the commission, making the law unconstitutional.
However, since the government lacks a majority in Rajya Sabha, when the bill was put to a vote at the insistence of Congress leaders, the bill was passed along with the stipulated amendment.
The bill will now return to the Lok Sabha for fresh approval before it materialises.
The government had in March decided to give a constitutional status to the backward commission to upgrade it and give parliament a free hand to include any community as backward.
The bill was first passed in the Lok Sabha in April, but the as the opposition wanted more scrutiny, Rajya Sabha referred it to a select committee.