M A I N   N E W S

Sibal blames bad floor management
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 1
A day after the much-awaited Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010, had to be deferred in the Rajya Sabha following stiff opposition from within the Congress, the government today put up a brave face, saying it was not a divided house and that it had only offered members an opportunity to voice their opinion.

Yesterday, after Congress’ Keshav Rao stood with Opposition BJP’s Bal Apte in the Rajya Sabha to dismiss the Bill as “half-baked and hastily-drafted”, Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal was extremely hurt and met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to mention the lack of proper floor management in the House.

Today, his Cabinet colleague and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal defended himself and the divided party members saying it was floor management, in fact, that had saved the day for the government yesterday.

Asked why Congress members in the Rajya Sabha stalled a Bill passed by the Lok Sabha, Bansal said, “We have a bicameral Parliament where the two Houses can differ on issues. Sometimes, in the interest of democracy, we need to defer laws and not push them, which is why we deferred the N-Liability Bill earlier. Yesterday, we sensed that the House wanted to debate the law more and we took a decision to defer it. As for criticism by a Congress member, any MP is free to express his views on any legislation. That is part of democracy.” Keshav Rao had yesterday accused Sibal of rushing the legislation and said Sibal’s thoughts ran faster than his deeds. Today, top UPA sources admitted they had not anticipated such stiff opposition from Rao, a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee.

“He wanted to speak and being a senior leader he was allowed to do so. We will examine the content of his speech to see if he crossed the line of party discipline. A view will be accordingly taken,” top government sources told The Tribune. Sources also said that had floor management not been proper yesterday, the law could have been defeated since the government does not have the numbers in the Rajya Sabha. “That would have been the real embarrassment,” UPA sources said.

Sibal for his part today said that the BJP had first assured him support on the law in the RS but backed out later. He dismissed rumours of having sought an appointment with UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. “I have no comments and don’t want to criticise anyone. My duty as a minister is to steer this law, which is crucial being a precursor to the remaining three education reform laws on the prevention of educational malpractices, foreign universities and accreditation authority. I will pursue the Bill in the winter session. It is a government bill cleared by the Group of Ministers and the Union Cabinet. The matter really is of Government of India prestige,” Sibal told The Tribune from Chandigarh. He said the Bill had been drafted after wide consultations and didn’t put the Centre against the states, as some MPs had yesterday claimed in the Upper House. Earlier, Sibal faced opposition from Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi on mooting a common school board. This time he is facing flak for ignoring all 15 recommendations of the HRD Standing Committee.

Deferred Education Bill

l The Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha, provides for establishment of national and state tribunals for expeditious adjudication of disputes involving teachers, employees of higher educational institutions, students and regulatory authorities.

l The main opposition to the Bill is that it puts states against Centre. The HRD Standing Committee examined it and said it was brought without homework. Panel wanted 15 changes, including a five-member panel, younger members and district-level tribunals. 

l THE MINISTRY DID not accept any recommendation. It said the state’s authority was unchallenged. The ministry also said the draft Bill was widely consulted and sent to state education secretaries. On young members, it said they were hard to find. 

l The Rajya Sabha deferred the Bill after Congress’ Keshav Rao joined the Opposotion, dubbing the Bill as a half-baked and hastily drafted law. The Opposition wanted more time to debate the Bill.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |