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Break The 'Constitutional Deadlock' On OBC Reservations In Local Body Elections: DMK MP Wilson In Parliament

Sebin James
29 March 2022 3:33 PM GMT
Break The Constitutional Deadlock On OBC Reservations In Local Body Elections: DMK MP Wilson In Parliament
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The Union Government doesn’t have the political will to release the Caste Census data collected in Socio-Economic Caste Census-2011 and thus empirical data cannot be obtained by the States, he added in his Speech.

Senior Advocate and DMK's Rajya Sabha MP P. Wilson has raised the issue of enforcing OBC Reservations in local body elections across the country.In his zero hour speech in the parliament today, Mr Wilson drew the Union Government's attention to the 'constitutional deadlock' regarding the issue of OBC reservation in local body elections of all states in India.He pointed out to the Chairman and...

Senior Advocate and DMK's Rajya Sabha MP P. Wilson has raised the issue of enforcing OBC Reservations in local body elections across the country.

In his zero hour speech in the parliament today, Mr Wilson drew the Union Government's attention to the 'constitutional deadlock' regarding the issue of OBC reservation in local body elections of all states in India.

He pointed out to the Chairman and the members that the concept of OBC reservations has not been fully implemented in local body elections even after the lapse of 28 years since the introduction of constitutional reservations in 1992.

He referred to the 15th Lok Sabha passing a resolution in 2011 to the effect that a Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) should be undertaken. Pursuant to this resolution, a census of all castes except SC/ST was carried out by spending Rs. 4893.60 crores, he stated. This Census was completed with the assistance of States and Union Territories.

Mr Wilson went on to observe that the raw caste data from SECC was collected by the Central Government in 2015. Pursuant to this exercise, the Cabinet Committee chaired by Prime Minister decided to screen the raw caste data through an expert Committee under the NITI AYOG to find out any infirmities.

After mentioning the above facts, the MP remarked that the expert committee has not been allowed to function to this date.

The above events assume significance in light of the Supreme Court Judgment that OBC Reservations in local body elections can't be implemented unless and until there is empirical data and a dedicated Commission gives the nod to it. Mr Wilson noted that this run-up to a 'constitutional deadlock' has been detrimental to the interests of Other Backward Classes.

He also mentioned a Press Release made by the Union Government in December 2021 stating that it will file a review petition before the apex court for allowing the political reservation of OBCs in local body elections. However, this statement has not been adhered to by the Government yet, he added.

"On the one hand the Constitution provides for OBC reservations but on the other hand, the Union Government doesn't have the political will to release the Caste Census data and thus empirical data cannot be obtained by the States. Without such empirical data, the Courts are striking down State reservation policies", P. Wilson underscored the peculiarity of the dilemma faced by OBC Community.

He then raised a question to the Union Government if it intends to deprive the states of caste census data already carried out so that the courts strike down their reservation policies. He further added that the census is a Union subject in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and states can't conduct their own caste census.

He ended his speech by making an earnest appeal to the Prime Minister for intervening in the matter. Breaking the constitutional deadlock requires the release of the Caste Census Data of SECC 2011 for all states. Alternatively, an amendment may be brought to Articles 243(D)(6), 243 (T)(6) of the Constitution that mandates reservations for OBCs in local body elections based upon the empirical data collected by States under Article 342 A(3).

He finally urged the Prime Minister to uphold social justice by paving way for OBC reservation in the local body elections.

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