Oppn forces govt to defer two bills in RS

Oppn forces govt to defer two bills in RS

Bills allegedly encroach upon federal rights of the States

A united opposition on Thursday forced deferment of the Border Security Force (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha alleging encroachment upon the federal rights of the states.

The opposition said the bill should be discussed only after the meeting of chief ministers scheduled on April 16 as points raised in the CMs’ meeting should find place in the bill.

Home Minister P Chidambaram tried to pacify the members saying the BSF cannot be deployed without the consent of the states. “It’s a Constitutional limitation that the Central armed forces cannot be deployed without the consent of the states. The BSF is a very old Act,” said Chidambaram.

He argued that this amendment has been necessitated due to the demands of the states to deploy the BSF in interior areas. At present, the BSF cannot be deployed in interior areas as it is meant to be deployed in border areas only.

The entire opposition, including the SP and the BSP, joined hands to demand the deferment.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the words — “to enable the Central government to deploy” — without caveat make the amendment objectionable.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jailtley argued that the bill should include the phrase “only at the request of the state government.”

JD(U) leader Shivannad Tiwari said the House could discuss the bill after the chief ministers’ meet and consider amendments suggested in the that meeting.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said despite the assurance by the home minister that no decision would be taken on the issue of extending BSF operations to other parts of the country unless asked by the states, the bill does not say that.

As the members did not relent, Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan told the House that the bill has been deferred.

Whistleblowers’ bill

Opposition members also did not allow any discussion on the Whistleblowers bill. Minister of State in Personnel V Narayansamy’s efforts to discuss and pass the bill could not materialise due to insistence of the members that time be given to move amendments. The Deputy Speaker later adjourned the House for the day.