Council passes Land Revenue Bill

 The controversial Karnataka Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, which was reintroduced in the Legislative Council on Monday, was passed by a voice vote. The Bill aims at regularising unauthorised houses constructed on government land in rural areas.

Revenue Minister K S Eshwarappa, after tabling the Bill for consideration of the House, strongly defended its objectives, while saying he failed to understand why the Governor did not give his assent to the Bill. The Bill is yet to come up for consideration in the Assembly.

Eshwarappa said, “I have tears in my eyes to think that the Governor did not give his consent to the Bill. I don’t want to cite the real reason behind his dissent to this Bill, which is pro-poor. I can’t even fathom what is in his mind. If he has said anything that is true then the government will immediately withdraw the Bill."

The minister said that he was disappointed that members of the House had raised objections to the Bill, despite having given consent to it the first time round. The members demanded that the government keep the Bill pending. The Bill was tabled in the Council along with the speaking order of the Governor. The Governor had told the government that he can't allow illegalities to be regularised.

Eshwarappa said that the Bill would benefit scores of needy people, and that there was no political motivation behind its introduction. “Both the Houses had unanimously passed the Bill. The Governor, however, sent it back without giving his assent. Who knows what he is thinking," he said.

Leader of the Opposition S R Patil demanded that Eshwarappa elaborate his statement on the Governor.

“Why don’t you tell the House why the Governor is not giving his assent? Why are you hiding it?” he said, adding that the Bill would encourage land grabbers and real estate agents.

Eshwarappa countered saying, “I am not scared of anybody sir! But do you have any idea of what I have gone through to get this Bill passed?”

The Bill, which seeks amendment to Section 94 C of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1961, proposes to regularise unauthorised constructions of dwelling houses on government land prior to January 1, 2012.

The Bill was passed this June and sent to the Governor for his assent. But, he had returned it after taking exception to some of its provisions. He had observed that the policy of regularisation of encroachment of government land would encourage illegal occupation of government land.

If the Assembly too passes the Bill, then it will be sent back to the Governor, who will have to give his assent. According to the rules, if a Bill is passed in the House twice, the Governor will be forced to approve it. Opposition members Basavaraj Horatti, Dayanand, M C Nanaiah, and Motamma opposed the Bill, while Congress member Pratap Chandra Shetty spoke on its behalf.

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