Bills, Resolutions, Questions Lost In Assembly's Uproar4 October 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Except for fulfilling the Constitutional formality of the Legislature's mandatory meeting once in six months, the brief nine days session of the Assembly that concluded today in Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, the House didn't transact any private business listed by MLAs, both from the opposition and treasury benches. Not even a single private member's Bills or Resolutions could be taken up in the Lower House due to unprecedented pandemonium triggered by both ruling coalition and the opposition legislators. A total of seven sittings had been listed in brief nine days Assembly session from September 26 to October 4. The working days were reduced to six with first day fixed for obituary reference to pay tributes to legislators, former MLAs-MLCs and other prominent persons who died between the period of last session to this one. Official sources said only Government business was conducted in the House. That too had to be rushed through on some occasions due to disturbances created by the opposition and ruling party members. On last day, the Government had to pass two bills pertaining to Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management (Amendment) Act and Jammu and Kashmir Valued Added Tax (Amendment) Act amid complete pandemonium in the House. Sources said not even a single private member's Bill or Resolution could be taken up in the Assembly session though a day each had been fixed for them in the Assembly session. Seven private member’s Resolutions had been listed for discussion on September 28. None of them was taken up. All of them had been cleared after ‘open balloting’ for the first time to maintain transparency in view of a Resolution seeking clemency for Afzal Guru, moved by Independent MLA Engineer Rashid. Eighteen private member’s bills, approved by Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, had been listed for introduction in the Assembly on October 3. Not even a single of them was taken up due to pandemonium created by opposition PDP and retaliated by NC over NC worker Mohammad Yusuf Shah's custodial killing. Most of the business, which is not taken up in the House excepting the Government bills, got lapsed. Most significantly, 514 Questions had been submitted by the MLAs in the Assembly for discussion and written replies during Question Hour. Of them, 274 questions fell in starred and 240 in un-starred categories. The Speaker had disallowed 33 questions. 'Less then 20 questions were taken up during the session, some of them during complete pandemonium in which replies were lost in the din', sources said, adding some of the MLAs received written replies to their queries while most of them were not even able to get the answers to their questions due to repeated adjournments. 'The session was reduced to a farce and a complete mockery. The Government failed to take up substantive business. The MLAs of NPP and other parties, who wanted to raise their issues couldn't do so. The private member's Bills and Resolutions, which had been prepared by the MLAs after a lot of efforts went in vain. Out of 500, just 20 questions were listed during the session', NPP Legislature Party leader and former Minister Harshdev Singh said. Mr Singh regretted that a very important Resolution moved by him for setting up of Lokayukta in the State to check the menace of corruption also got lapsed in the fight between treasury benches and the opposition. 'The Assembly session had been called by the Government to fulfill Constitutional formality of convening Legislature once in a six months. Had there been no such Constitutional requirement, the Government wouldn't have even called the session', observed JSM MLA Ashwani Sharma. He said there was no fun of calling the session if the MLAs were not allowed to raise the issues pertaining to their constituencies and other problems of people's concern. CPM leader MY Tarigami said the largest political institution couldn't function for almost the entire session, which is very 'unfortunate'. He regretted that credibility of the democratic institution has been undermined by virtually damaging the process of democracy. While PDP MLAs justified their protest on the ground that 'custodial killing' and 'unmarked graves' were most important issues for them than any other issue, the NC MLAs said they were left with no option but to counter the PDP campaign when they started targeting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. While first couple of days after the obituary reference were lost in the din created on Afzal Guru Resolution by BJP, NPP and MLAs expelled or suspended from the BJP and Engineer Rashid and Congress legislators, who were seeking expulsion of seven suspended BJP legislators from the House, last two days of the session witnessed frequent adjournments and were lost due to PDP's insistence on admission of their adjournment motion on Shah's custodial killing followed by NC's retaliation. In addition to two bills on amendments in FRBM and VAT Acts passed today amidst ruckus, three bills including an amendment in State Vigilance Act for creation of the posts of Chief Vigilance Commissioner and two Vigilance Commissioners and switching over to open ballot system in MLCs' elections had been passed earlier.