M A I N   N E W S

Bir Devinder meets Governor
Lovely varsity Bill
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Congress MLA, who had opposed the Lovely Professional University Bill, 2005, on the floor of the Punjab Assembly last month, today met the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to request him not to give his consent to the Bill and refer it to either the Select Committee of the House or the Committee of Experts to remove certain provisions.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who discussed the Bill with the Governor for about 45 minutes, also submitted a detailed representation exposing what he described as " obnoxious provisions".

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who at the time of passing of the Bill in the House had sought permission from the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to abstain from voting but was denied the same, told The Tribune that he explained to the Governor that if the Bill became an Act it would commercialise education and cause huge damage to educational standards in the state. He said that once this Bill became an Act, the managements of several other private institutions would line up to get their institutions also declared as universities by getting similar Bills passed.

It is, perhaps, for the first time in recent years that a ruling party MLA in Punjab has met the Governor to request him to withhold assent to a Bill.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh made a strong case against the Bill in the representation submitted to the Governor. He referred to an instance how the Madhya Pradesh Governor, Mr Bal Ram Jakhar, returned the Madhya Pradesh Private Universities Bill, 2003, which was passed by the MP Assembly on March 28, 2003.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh told the Governor that even before the " present piece of legislation was brought before the Legislative Assembly of the state, the name of Lovely university had figured as respondent number 9 in writ petition number 19, 2004, filed under Article 32 of the Constitution by way of public interest litigation (PIL) by Prof Yashpal, an eminent scientist and former Chairman of the University Grants Commission. Prof Yashpal had prayed to the apex court to declare the provisions of the Chhatisgarh Niji Kshetra Vishwavidyalaya Adhiniyam, 2002, ultra vires, and for quashing the notification issued by the state of Chhattisgarh." The apex court had quashed the notification. A copy of the judgement was given to the Governor.


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