In the Mandal casejudgement (1992), the Supreme Court directed the central government to constitute a permanent statutory body to examine the complaints of underinclusion, overinclusion or non-inclusion of any class of citizens in the list of backward classes.
Accordingly, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was set up in 1993. Later, the 102nd Amendment Act of 2018 conferred a constitutional status on the Commission.
For this purpose, the amendment inserted a new
Article 338-B in the constitution. Hence, the Commission ceased to be a statutory body and became a constitutional body.
The Commission consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members. They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. Their conditions of service and tenure of office are also determined by the President.
- To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate their working.
- To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the socially and educationally backward classes.
- To participate and advise on the socioeconomic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union or a state.
- To present to the President, annually and at such other times as it may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
- To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare, development and advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes as the President may specify.
- The Commission presents an annual report to the President. It can also submit a report as and when it thinks necessary. The President places all such reports before the Parliament, along with a memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations made by the Commission.
- The President also forwards any report of the Commission pertaining to a state government to the state government. The government places it before the state legislature.
- The Commission, while investigating any matter or enquiring into any complaint, has all the powers of a civil court trying a suit.
- The central government and the state governments are required to consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.