- Reservation to Other Backward classes was implemented through Mandal Commission in 1990.
- The certificate for OBC is issued by National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
- Eligible people can apply for the certificate through offline as well online mode.
- The certificate has a validity of up to 1 year.
- The certificate is of two types: OBC A and OBC B.
- OBC A refers to non-Creamy Layer OBCs.
- OBC B refers to Creamy Layer OBCs.
- Income is one of the main criteria to decide the eligibility.
India has always been a country with a vast social and cultural heritage and diversity. People belonging to various castes and cultures have lived in this complex, yet stable form of society that has worked with effective integration. Increased focus on power, wealth, and status among the members of society led to the division of Hindu society into four classes namely Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. People were divided on the basis of their birth and occupation.
The Brahmans sat on the highest pedestal and governed all the other classes through rules and policies made by them. They decided the hierarchy with themselves at the highest position, followed by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Apart from these, some communities were treated as untouchables who later came to be known as Dalits and they suffered and were oppressed by the higher classes for decades. When this oppression reached its epitome, the Government decided to make laws for their protection and inclusion into the society from which they were excluded for years.
As a result, the Government introduced laws to protect the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes through reservations in various jobs and educational institutions. It was later realised that apart from these categories, there was another class of people that was neglected and undermined who did not belong to either of the categories and mainly comprised of people who were economically backward and lived below the poverty line and this class of people was recognised as Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The OBCs were given recognition through the 93rd Constitutional Amendment and are notified as Socially and Educationally Backward Classes in the Constitution. Article 340 makes the obligation on the Government to promote the welfare of the OBCs.
Morarji Desai-led Government in 1978 suggested the formation of Mandal Commission under Bindeshwari Prasad Mandal, the former Chief Minister of Bihar, as Second Backward Class Commission to fulfil the purpose laid down in Articles 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution. The Mandal Commission submitted its report 2 years later in 1980 during the rule of Indira Gandhi but it was never implemented.
On 7 August 1990, the VP Singh Government announced in the Parliament that it has accepted the report of Mandal Commission and is implementing 27% reservation for all Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Government jobs and higher education services. However, there is a concept of a Creamy Layer in the OBC reservation, and those belonging to the non-Creamy Layer are entitled to reservation under the OBC category.
The Mandal commission laid down 11 criteria that could be grouped under social, economic, and educational heads in order to identify OBCs. Social indicators were given the highest weightage with three points.
WHAT IS CREAMY LAYER
The term Creamy Layer for the first time was used in the recommendation of the Sattanathan Commission in 1971. The term Creamy Layer was defined by the Supreme Court that concluded that OBC reservation should only be given to the weaker part of the OBC community and the Creamy Layer who are fared better and do not face any socio-economic backwardness are not entitled to reservation.
In Indira Sawhney and Ors. Vs. Union of India, the Court held that OBC belonging to Creamy Layer will not be eligible for reservation.
OBC children of doctors, lawyers, media persons, chartered accountants, film stars, sports stars, etc who earn more than 8,00,000 per annum are considered as Creamy Layer OBC and do not get reservations. Therefore, the Creamy Layer concept brings in income and social status as perimeters to prevent some of the privileged members of OBC from the ambit of reservation.
The Creamy Layer status of an applicant applying for an OBC certificate can be determined on the basis of the status of their parents.
In case the parents are non-government employees if their annual income is more than Rs 8 lacs, then the children will be under the Creamy Layer and not eligible for reservation.
In case the parents are Government employees, if the parents of the applicant entered into Class I service before the age of 40, such applicant will be considered under Creamy Layer and will not be entitled to reservation.
It should be noted that the word income applies only to the income of the parents. The annual income of the applicant or his or her spouse is not taken into consideration while applying for Non-Creamy Layer Certificate.
OBC certificate is the caste certificate provided to the candidates who belong to the Other Backward Classes. It is of significant importance for those who belong to non-Creamy Layer OBC as it helps them get reservations in educational institutions for higher studies and Government jobs under reserved seats. An OBC certificate is provided by National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) and the Non-Creamy Layer Certificate is usually issued by the Tehsildar of a particular state.
In Tej Pal Singh Vs. Govt. Nct of Delhi, the Court held that a certificate issued by a competent authority is significant for other authorities to believe the assertion that a candidate belongs to the SC category. This case laid down the foundation that a caste certificate was necessary to avail of the benefits of reservation.
- Types of OBC certificates
The OBC certificate is of two types, OBC A certificate is for the people who belong to the non-Creamy Layer and the second is the OBC B certificate is given to people that belong to the Creamy Layer. People holding the second certificate cannot avail the benefits of reservation.
- Eligibility for certificate
1. The applicant should be a citizen of India and belong to the OBC category.
2. Applicant’s parent/s must be working under Group C and D of the Central Government services.
3. Applicants belonging to castes that are not mentioned under the Central Government’s list of OBC categories cannot apply.
4. Individuals who are part of IAS, IPS, IFS designation cannot apply.
5. If the parents of the applicant work under Group B or C of Central or Group 1 of the State Government, then he or she may not be eligible.
6. If parents' income exceeds 8 lakhs per annum excluding agricultural income, then the children will not be eligible.
- Application for OBC certificate
To apply for the certificate, the applicant has to:
• Buy a stamp paper of Rs 20.
• Acquire an affidavit from the notary Advocate.
• Attach the required documents signed by the parent or guardian.
• Submit all the documents to the Village Administrative Officer.
• From Village Administrative Officer, it is passed onto RI and then to the Tehsildar who issues the certificate.
The application for the OBC certificate can be submitted through both offline and online modes.
- Offline mode
a. Firstly, the applicant has to visit the Tehsil office, SDM office, or Revenue office to collect the required application form.
b. Ask for a caste certificate and fill the form.
c. The applicant has to mention their name, father’s name, address, date of birth, gender, contact information, etc and chose the OBC option as mentioned in the application form.
d. After filling in the details, the form should be signed with a self-attested photograph of the applicant.
e. After the completion of the application, it is submitted with the required documents.
- Online mode
f. Visit the official website of the caste certificate issuing department i.e., Backward Class Welfare Portal.
g. Click on apply for certificate and create an account and fill the form.
h. Fill in the details such as father’s name, address, contact information, gender, etc.
i. The required documents are needed to be scanned and submitted in the portal and the application is submitted.
j. After the document verification, the applicant may receive a message or mail and they can directly download the certificate from the official website.
- Documents required
The documents that can be used for identity proof are:
1. PAN Card
2. AADHAR Card
3. Driving License
4. Voter ID Card
6. Water Bill
7. Photograph of the applicant
The documents used as address proof are:
8. AADHAR Card
9. Voter ID Card
11. Ration Card
12. Electricity Bill
13. Telephone Bill
14. If the father’s certificate is not available, then the proof of caste of a relative.
15. In case of a migrant applicant, appropriate documents from home state.
16. In the case of a married woman, caste certificate from before the marriage and marriage certificate and name change proof.
17. Income proof
18. Caste proof
19. Affidavit for caste
BENEFITS OF HOLDING THE CERTIFICATE
- Eligible for 27% reservation in various Government jobs and educational institutions.
- Relaxation in upper age limit in various competitive exams.
- Relaxation in the number of attempts in competitive exams.
- Relaxation in cut-off marks in competitive examinations and admission in various Government colleges.
VALIDITY OF THE CERTIFICATE
The non-Creamy Layer certificate is applicable to OBC candidates who are under the wealth/income criteria. In case of appointment, the income limit is decided on the basis of income earned during three financial from preceding the year of appointment.
With respect to exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission, the candidates are advised to hold the certificate of the date previous to closing date of the UPSC preliminary examination application.
However, in other cases, the OBC certificate is valid up to one year from the date of reception and it is applicable in all states other than Tamil Nadu for one year.
- In respect of parents working as Government employees, the status of the job is more important than the income, however, if parents are working in the private sector, income is the main criteria to decide the eligibility.
- Here, income and salary are different concepts which mean income from salary and income from other sources are treated separately. It should be noted that neither of them exceeds the limit of Rs 8 lakhs in three consecutive years.
- OBC reservation eligibility is entirely different from Economically Weaker Section reservation eligibility.
- In Public Sector Undertakings, all the posts of executive-level, board-level executive, and managerial level are treated equivalent to Group A posts in the Government and will be treated as Creamy Layer.
- In case the Group B/Class II Officer gets promoted to Group A/Class I Officer after the age of 4 years, his/her children will be eligible for reservation.
- But in case the promotion happens before the age of 40, the children will not be eligible for reservation.
The Constitution and the Government have made various laws for the protection and upliftment of people belonging to Other Backward Classes but there are still many candidates who are unaware of the reservation provided to them. The Legislature has aimed to increase awareness among OBCs to take advantage of the benefits provided by the Government but there is still a large section of OBC people who are ignorant about them. In many cases, families who have been working minimal jobs due to the socio-economic challenges are still stuck there as they are unaware of the Government policies. The lengthy and tedious process of obtaining an OBC certificate adds to all the other prevailing difficulties. In very rare cases, applicants are capable enough to apply for certificates, due to lack of education or proper resources and hence prefer sticking to their old lives being ignorant to the reservation benefits.
Obtaining the certificate is not the only difficulty faced by them. When the Government of VP Singh implemented the reservation scheme, there was a backlash from other classes of the society and people took roads to protest against the new reservation laws. Even today, the reservation incites debate among the non-reserved classes and they are judged by others during service or studies on the basis that they have entered through reservation and are non-deserving. The country still hopes to see equality among the classes through reservation without any judgment and discrimination.