Saturday, March 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

President calls joint session on March 26
Oppose POTO Bill, Cong urges NDA allies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
President K R Narayanan today summoned a joint sitting of Parliament to deliberate and vote on the Bill seeking ratification of the Prevention of Terrorism (second) Ordinance, 2002, which, the government said, would be held on March 26.

The Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 18, failed to get approval last night from the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA is in a minority.

It is the third time in independent India’s parliamentary history that the government of the day has urged the President to exercise his power for summoning a joint session of the two Houses for passing a Bill.

On May 6 and 9, 1971, a joint session was held for the first time to pass the Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1959, and the next time it was on May 16, 1979, when a joint sitting was held for passing the Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill on the order of the President who had exercised powers conferred on him under Clause (1) of Article 108 of the Constitution.

A communication sent by the President to the Lok Sabha was today read out by Deputy Speaker P.M. Sayeed in the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan has already recommended to presiding officers of both Houses to hold the joint sitting on March 26. The Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker will preside over the proceedings.

The Rajya Sabha had defeated the government’s plans to enact the stringent anti-terrorism legislation by a margin of 15 votes, setting the stage for yet another legislative battle on March 26.

Amidst high drama and deft man-management by both sides, the Opposition-sponsored statutory resolution disapproving the Prevention of Terrorism (second) Ordinance, was approved with 113 members supporting the motion and 98 voting against it in a division pressed by the Opposition.

Subsequently, by the same margin, Home Minister L.K. Advani’s motion for taking up the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002, was defeated.

Meanwhile, the Congress today appealed to the allies of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to oppose the Bill in the joint sitting of Parliament, saying that there remained sharp differences on the issue and there was no consensus.Back

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