Bills passed in budget session to be challenged in court: Congress

·5-min read

New Delhi, Mar 25 (PTI) Bills passed in the Budget Session of Parliament will be challenged in court, the Congress said on Thursday, alleging this is the first time that the government did not agree to any of the opposition's demands as it was only interested in pushing its legislative business.

Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Ravneet Singh Bittu claimed that they wanted the current Parliament session to continue till its stipulated time of April 8, but the government found excuses to curtail it two weeks ahead of schedule.

'Every bill that was passed in the Parliament session will be challenged in the Supreme Court. There is no doubt about it,' Ramesh told reporters and cited the examples of the Delhi bill and the mines and minerals bill.

'Passing bills like this is against the tenets of democracy. We strongly condemn the government for this and the manner in which the role of parliamentary committees was ignored,' he added.

Noting that the Budget Session was curtailed two weeks ahead of time, he said the Congress was not in favour of it.

'We wanted the session to run till April 8 and wanted to raise people's issues and debate them. As the PM, home minister and other ministers are campaigning, the session was wound up two weeks ahead. I feel curtailment of the session weakens democracy,' Ramesh said.

Kharge, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the opposition wanted to raise many issues like the rising fuel prices, withdrawal of farm laws and price rise, but was not allowed to do so.

'We have done what we had to do, you can decide. The BJP behaved like any party with a brute majority would behave,' he said, adding that when the Congress was in power it heeded everyone's requests.

Kharge said Jawaharlal Nehru used to sit in Parliament when he was the prime minister, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were busy with elections.

'They did not even look once at Parliament. The prime minister came on the last day in a routine course to attend when the National Anthem was being sung,' he said.

'When we call Parliament, it is to heed the troubles of people and solve them. Otherwise there is no point in calling the Parliament,' the senior Congress leader observed.

Kharge also alleged that the government was on a no-holds barred privatisation spree.

' It is privatising loss making and profit making entities so that in private sector enterprises there is no need to give the benefits of reservation. The government is privatising firms to indirectly hatch the conspiracy of eliminating quotas,' he alleged.

On the GNCTD amendment bill, he said on December 20, 1991, BJP leader LK Advani had stated in the Lok Sabha that their party was of the view that Delhi should be given the status of a full fledged state.

'Statehood is a far cry. Even the current status has not been protected. We sought the bill be referred to a select committee, but it was not allowed,' he said.

Congress whip in Lok Sabha Ravneet Singh Bittu said the government is on a privatising spree, as it is busy privatising all sectors and has kept a target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore.

He alleged that after the British looted the country, the current dispensation led by Modi is on a mission to 'sell everything' that is left over to their 'private friends'.

'Will you not spare anyting? You will target everything,' he asked.

'This is a government of jumlas,' he alleged.

He also demanded answers from the government on the farmers' issue as over 300 farmers have died so far. 'You have no time to listen to farmers and the poor, but are busy in campaigning,' Bitu alleged.

The Punjab MP said poll-bound states should punish the BJP for making fake promises.

Bittu also said that the Centre has not sent bags to Punjab where procurement will start soon. He said Punjab is facing a crisis and it is being punished for not implementing farm laws and the Centre is creating troubles in procurement.

Ramesh, who is the chief whip of the party in Rajya Sabha, claimed that the government may claim high productivity of Parliament session, but the passage of bills was not possible without the opposition's constructive support, especially that of the Congress.

'We are very sad that we extended constructive support. Not one demand made by us was met,' he said, noting that neither were demands for calling attention motions nor short duration discussions were agreed upon to discuss the high fuel prices and the farmers issue.

Ramesh said constructive support is not one-sided as the opposition seeks some concessions and normally the government gives such concessions. He added that the opposition must get the time to debate issues.

Alleging that the government has made a 'mockery of democracy', Ramesh said a new Parliament building will not strengthen democracy.

Noting that in 2014, the CAG put out 55 reports which have been reduced to only 14 in 2020, the Congress leader said this government is ignoring such bodies.

He pointed out that the bill for setting up a new bank for funding infrastructure projects did not provide for any scrutiny by either CAG, CBI or any other agency, including the Parliament.

Asked about which bills would be challenged, he alleged that the bills being passed were 'unconstitutional' and cited the example of the Delhi bill.

'I will challenge the mines law because the SC has said mines that violate environmental laws are illegal. This definition has been excluded from the law,' he noted. PTI SKC AAR AAR