Saturday 24 August 2019

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Centre may stall assent to police bill

 

The union home ministry is likely to stall the controversial Goa Police bill, which provides for partially privatising the police force. The legislators here are however agitated over the governor holding the bill for last five months.

"I have not delayed the bill", states Governor Dr P C Alexander, who is now believed to have referred the matter to the union home ministry to examine its constitutional validity. "I have sent it to the concerned authority for further examination", he admits.

The provisions were included in the bill after chief minister Pratapsing Rane, along with Jalmi and other select committee members, had made a special trip to Singapore to study the police system there and incorporate certain provisions from tourist point of view.

All the trade unions and NGOs here are up in arms over the provisions for auxiliary and honorary police, which basically means the private securitymen who would be given policing powers. "It is meant to suppress the working class struggles", alleges Christopher Fonseca, the trade union leader belonging to the CPI.

Union home minister Gupta, while addressing the May Day rally in the city here, had in fact appealed to the public to wage a state-wide agitation against such anti-people provisions in the bill, while assuring the Goan people to examine the bill in depth.

While the bill was unanimously passed by the Goa Assembly in its budget session on 31 March, the issue was raised once again in the recently concluded monsoon session. The uproar by both the treasury and opposition members had even led to the adjournment of the House.

Dr Alexander however learnt to be quite upset with Speaker Tomazinho Cardoz, who allowed the House to discuss the conduct of the governor, going against the norms of house proceedings. Members held the governor responsible for delay when actually it was held up by the law department for over two months.

Allegations were also made that the governor is taking the House for granted and that the bill was not assented due to the pressure from the union home ministry. Dr Kashinath Jalmi, the state opposition leader, has now moved a breach of privilege against union home minister Indrajit Gupta, who had publicly questioned credential of the legislators for passing such an anti-people bill.

The governor however claims that union home ministry became aware of the bill only after the House was adjourned last month, which censured the governor and condemned the union home minister. Jalmi, while moving the breach of privilege, even questioned Gupta's authority in stalling the bill.

While refuting another allegation that IAS lobby has stalled the bill, Dr Alexander now admits that it has been held up to examine constitutional viewpoint. It is learnt that the bill has shifted all the powers from the executive to the police commissioner, which had been objected to by several top bureaucrats.

The governor however is silent on the controversial provision of the auxiliary police and honorary police. "I have my own views on it", he says, hinting that he does not favour the existing provision. With Gupta's views known in public, it is however almost certain that the bill would not be assented to.






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