The rights and safeguards embodied in the constitution for the backward classes (BCs) are mentioned below:
- The State is permitted to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens (Article 15(4)).
- The State is empowered to make any special provision for any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens regarding their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions (whether aided or unaided by the state), except minority educational institutions (Article 15(5)).
- The State can provide for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class which is not adequately represented in the state services (Article 16(4)).
- The State is directed to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46).
- The tribal welfare minister appointed in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha may also be put additionally in charge of the welfare of the BCs (Article 164(1)).
- The President may appoint a commission to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes and to recommend the steps to improve their condition. The report of the commission is to be placed before the Parliament, along with action taken memorandum (Article 340).
- The National Commission for Scheduled Castes is also required to discharge similar functions with regard to the BCs as it does with respect to the SCs. In other words, the commission has to investigate all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the BCs and report to the President upon their working (Article 338(10)).
The following legislations contain the rights and safeguards for the BCs:
- Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act (2006) provides for reservation of 27% for the students belonging to the BCs (excluding creamy layer) in central educational institutions (other than those exempted under the Act).
- National Commission for Backward Classes Act (1993) provided for the establishment of a National Commission for Backward Classes. The Commission examines requests for inclusion of any class of citizens in the list of BCs for the purpose of reservation. It also hears complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any BC in the list.