Lok Sabha Secretariat raises objections on Telangana Bill

Asks law ministry if amendments to the Constitution are needed for reorganization.

New Delhi: Close on the heels of the objections raised over the constitutionality of introducing the Telangana Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the government appears to be facing trouble that could potentially derail its attempt to get it introduced and passed by the Lok Sabha.

Sources claim that the Lok Saba Secretariat has now sought the opinion of the union law ministry to check whether creation of a new state requires a constitutional amendment, something which the Bill in its current form does not seek.

The view of the mandarins in the Lok Sabha Secretariat is that dividing Andhra Pradesh would also cause a division of the State Legislative Council, which necessarily requires an amendment to the Constitution.

Earlier, the Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati had suggested to the government that Parliament must amend the constitution, in the absence of which the two states woudl lose their special status provided under Article 371-D. The said article provides special provisions to protect the interests of the people and resources of a state.

In its wisdom, the Group of Ministers had ignored this aspect of the law and had resulted in the central government not heeding the AG's suggestion, instead bringing to the table a simplified State Re-organization Bill.

Meanwhile, the government is trying to get the requisite support to get the Bill passed in the lower house with some central ministers holding hectic meetings with the Speaker Meira Kumar to discuss ways to ensure a speedy closure.

There were reports doing the rounds that the government is trying to persuade the Speaker to use her authority to discipline the Andhra Pradesh MPs who are anti-Telengana. This could also mean suspension from the house.

The Speaker was also being petitioned to waive the pre-requisites for introducing the Bills such as the seven-day notice period etc. Another condition that may require waiver relates to the provision that Bills cannot be included in the list of business of a House until copies have been made available to the MPs at least two days in advance.

Of course, a third aspect relates to the Speaker referring Bills to the Standing Comittees, in this case that of the Home Ministry, which is currently headed by BJP stalwart M. Venkaiah Naidu. There is also considerable concern over possibility of amendments that MPs may suggest post the introduction of the Bill.

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