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Storm expected in monsoon session, Government likely to put off land bill

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New Delhi: The monsoon session of parliament is expected to be stormy, which is why the government is likely to put off the controversial land bill this time, sources said on Sunday.

The joint parliamentary committee – which was supposed to table its report on the first day of the monsoon session on Tuesday – is set to seek an extension of two more weeks to finalize the report, the sources said.

“The report will not come immediately… while any final decision will depend on when the report is tabled, the bill is unlikely to be taken up in this session,” a Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.

With the 19-day session expected to see an uproar over issues ranging from the Vyapam scam to the Lalit Modi controversy, sources said there was a feeling that the land bill will only increase troubles for the government.

With little hope of getting it passed, the government is rather focusing on re-promulgating the ordinance for the fourth time.

The opposition Congress sent out a warning on Sunday, saying the government must make “scam-accused” ministers resign if it wants to get bills passed.

“Hope Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi announces resignations of scam-accused ministers… Passing bills would become very easy,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Sunday.

The list of government business, according to sources, has 35 items, including nine bills pending in the Rajya Sabha and four in the Lok Sabha.

Besides, 11 new bills are to be introduced, as per the government’s plan.

Bills pending in the Lok Sabha include the land bill, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

Crucial among the nine bills pending in the Rajya Sabha are those related to GST, the Whistle Blower Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2015.

The new bills which the government plans to introduce include the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015, for changes in consumer protection laws; Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to settle commercial disputes outside courts; the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Services), which seeks to redress their long-pending demand of high court judges of one rank one pension.

(IANS)

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President’s Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional: Sri Lanka’s Court

The push to oust Rajapaksa dragged Sri Lanka's parliament into chaos.

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Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo. VOA

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena’s move to dissolve parliament last month was illegal.

In a unanimous decision announced Thursday, the seven-member court said that Sirisena violated the constitution when he called a snap election nearly two years before the parliamentary session was due to end.

The decision adds another chapter to a political crisis that began on on October 26, when President Sirisena fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, claiming that an informant told police that a Cabinet minister was part of a plot to assassinate him.

Sri Lanka, parliament
Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe holds a copy of the constitution of Sri Lanka as he attends a media briefing at his official residence in Colombo, Oct. 29, 2018. VOA

He replaced Wickremesinghe with Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s former president and strongman, then suspended parliament the next day. In an apparent bow to international pressure, Sirisena summoned lawmakers back to work last Monday.

But when it became apparent that Rajapaksa would not survive a no-confidence vote, Sirisena dissolved parliament on November 9 and called for snap elections. The Supreme Court overruled the president’s decree in a ruling issued just days later.

Wickremesinghe has remained in the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo in defiance of Sirisena’s actions.

Sri Lanka, Parliament
Newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa speaks during the parliament session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 15, 2018. VOA

The push to oust Rajapaksa dragged Sri Lanka’s parliament into chaos. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya held a voice vote on November 14 on the no-confidence motion after Rajapaksa’s supporters staged an noisy, impromptu protest in the chamber before debate began.

Also Read: Sri Lanka On The Brink of ‘Economic Anarchy’

The next day, rival lawmakers exchanged blows after Jayasuriya declared that Sri Lanka had no prime minister or a cabinet, with some of Rajapaksa’s supporters hurling water bottles and other objects at Jayasuriya. (VOA)