Wednesday 21 November 2018

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Breach of privilege against home minister ?

 

The Goa Assembly is in a process of admitting a breach of privilege, moved by the state opposition leader Dr Kashinath Jalmi (to whose party belongs the union law minister Ramakant Khalap) against union home minister Indrajit Gupta for expressing doubts over competency of the Goan legislators in unanimously passing the Goa Police bill in March.

Maharashtra governor Dr P C Alexander, who is holding additional charge of Goa, also came under fire for withholding the assent to the bill for last four months. Following pandemonium for 30 minutes by the opposition members over governor's delay in assenting the bill, the question hour was suspended and house was adjourned till Zero Hour by the speaker today morning, The treasury benches also supported the opposition demand.

Dr Jalmi, later on at a press conference, demanded recall of the governor if no reply was received from him in next 24 hours regarding the fate of the police bill. He also charged that the bill was withheld by the union home ministry while the IAS lobby was also involved in stalling it.

Opposition members, belonging to the MGP and the BJP, got furious over a news report in a local daily, which stated that the union home ministry has expressed satisfaction over Dr Alexander not granting sanction to the police bill. It also quoted the ministry sources stating that the bill would invite a constitutional problem.

Linking to this, Jalmi also recalled Gupta's statement during his visit here in May, expressing reservations over the provision of auxiliary police (giving policing powers to the trained private personnel). Also recalling Gupta's statement where he had questioned credentials of the legislators who passed the bill unanimously, Jalmi sought to move the breach of privilege motion against the union home minister.

"He has cast aspersions on the competency and intelligence of the House. Get him before the bar of the House to explain", demanded Jalmi. Speaker Tomazinho Cardoz accordingly accepted the statement as a notice of motion, pending examination of records. "But I fully agree that there exists a prima facie case to admit the breach of privilege motion", he told the media later on.

The agitated members of the opposition also declined to accept law minister Domnick Fernandes's clarification that the matter of delay over assenting the bill is being taken up with the governor and demanded adjournment of the proceedings in order to send a message to Dr Alexander that the whole House is unhappy over the unwarranted delay.

After a heated debate over the issue, the speaker adjourned the House "taking into consideration the issue, importance of the matter and since all the members are unanimous over it". While the treasury benches also shared similar sentiments, chief minister Pratapsing Rane as well as Dr Wilfred de Souza, his deputy, however were not present.

Cardoz however disagreed with the demand that the governor should let the House know in 24 hours whether the bill is assented, dissented or reserved for the President of India's consideration. "The Constitution of India does not specify fixed time limit for the governor", he said.






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