105 Constitutional Amendment Act

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 6, 2022, 9:48

The 105 Constitutional Amendment Act restored the state governments’ power to prepare the list of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC).

As per the Supreme Court, the 102 Constitutional Amendment Act implied that the state governments did not have the authority to identify the SEBC. To restore this power, the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act was passed.

Need for the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act

The Constitution has given the Union as well as States the authority to mark the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.

However, when the 102 Constitutional Amendment Act giving constitutional status to the National Commission for the Backward Class (NCBC) was passed, it was interpreted by the Supreme Court that the 102nd Amendment had taken away the States’ right to identify the SEBCs.

This fact came to light when a month after the passing of the 102nd amendment, the Maharashtra government’s law granting the Marathas an SEBC status was challenged in the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court, for the first time, held that 102nd Amendment had taken away States’ powers to recognize SEBCs.

The reason given by Justice S Ravindra Bhat is that the Parliament had added Article 342 A, and with the combination of Article 366 and Article 338B, the States were now obliged to consult the NCBC and could not declare SEBCs on their own.

If the 102nd amendment had only inserted Article 338B, the power of identification of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes would have remained with the States. Hence, a modification in the form of the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act was required.

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The Corrective Course of the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act

The Union government tried to sort the matters out and argued that the 102nd amendment was only brought on with the intent of enabling the Union government to identify SEBCs and would only apply to the Central government and the institutions governed by it. It did nothing to remove the State governments’ power to labelling the SEBCs.

All political parties were in favour of restoring the States’ power as early as possible. There was unanimous demand to repeal the Supreme Court’s verdict. Hence the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act was introduced in Parliament, and it was passed unanimously in both houses. Not a single member voted against it in the Lok Sabha.

Thus, the Parliament restored the provisions providing States with the authority to identify SEBCs.

Impact of the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act

The 105 Constitutional Amendment Act resolved the issue by amending clauses 1 and 2 of Article 342A and also introduced a new clause to it, clause 3. It also modified Articles 366 and 338B.

The act restored the State governments’ power to notify the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.

Arguments have been going on for and against the provision of constitutional reservation for years. Even after many years of independence, we, as a society, are still trying to ensure equal rights for our people and remove prejudices and discrimination through reservation.

The 105 Constitutional Amendment Act is one more attempt in this direction of creating an equal society through federal equality and has ensured that States get back their right to create a list of Socially and Educationally Backward groups without having to consult the NCBC.

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FAQs on 105 Constitutional Amendment Act

Q.1. Which minister presented the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act in Parliament?

The 105 Constitutional Amendment Act was brought in the Parliament by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr Virendra Kumar.

Q.2. Which event led to the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act?

The Maharashtra government’s recognition of the Maratha community as SEBC, and the challenge of this recognition in the Supreme Court, brought the issues to the fore that led to the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act.

Q.3. What is the 105 amendment In Indian Constitution?

The 105 Constitutional Amendment Act amends Article 342A to state the power of the President to specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the Central List for the purposes of the Central Government.

Q.4. What was unique about the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act?

The uniqueness of the 105 Constitutional Amendment Act lies in that no member in the Lok Sabha voted against it.