M A I N   N E W S

Cabinet meets today, Rahul’s anti-graft Bills on agenda
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 1
The Union Cabinet will meet on Sunday and is expected to take a call on ordinances to clear what is now known as a clutch of anti-corruption Bills and rights-related Bills that could not be legislated in the just-concluded winter session.

Although these Bills were expected to come up at Friday’s Cabinet meeting, the matter was deferred amid reports that NCP chief Sharad Pawar sought to understand the need to promulgate the ordinance at the end of the government’s tenure.

The Congress is committed to the anti-graft measures since party vice-president Rahul Gandhi wants to “expose” Opposition's reluctance to get them passed in Parliament.

However, there are apprehensions whether President Pranab Mukherjee will go along with the decision to promulgate ordinances without asking any questions. The government is learnt to have reached out to the President and sent two senior leaders to meet him.

Sources said the government could restrict itself to approving ordinances on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill and Rights of Persons with Disability Bill instead of a number of those required to take all the Bills forward. These included ordinances on Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill and Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill — both dealing with corruption — that were on the agenda of Friday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, arguments both for and against the move are being advanced, with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy terming it as “ultra vires” of the Constitution and Congress MP and Law and Justice Standing Committee chairman Shantaram Naik supporting it.

“The proposed draft ordinances to be considered by the Union Cabinet for proclamation by the President are ultra vires of the Constitution. The house is adjourned, but not dissolved. This ordinance would be outside the nature and powers of the President under Article 53. He argued this was so because the current Lok Sabha will end by May this year and it cannot legislate to convert the ordinance into a legally valid statue within six months the term for which the ordinance remains valid,” Swamy said in a statement.

Naik countered Swamy’s stand and expressed support for The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Grievances Bill. He said ordinances could also be issued in the matter of other important bills that could not be passed for no fault of the government.

In a statement issued, he said the Bill was historic in the sense that it made it mandatory for designated public authorities to provide services to citizens in a time-bound manner such as goods and services. Naik said he had submitted the report on the Bill in Parliament on August 28 two years ago and was hoping it would become a law at the earliest.

The ordinance route

  • The anti-graft and rights-related ordinances were on the Cabinet’s Friday agenda, but were not taken up
  • Apparently, NCP chief Sharad Pawar questioned the need to promulgate the ordinance at the end of the UPA tenure
  • The government's reluctance is also believed to have been influenced by fears that President Pranab Mukherjee may raise questions on similar grounds





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