Communal violence bill unlikely to figure in Budget session

Communal violence bill unlikely to figure in Budget session

Govt not keen on bringing womens reservation bill this time, too

A contentious bill to check communal violence in the country may not be brought in Parliament’s second half of the Budget session with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government contemplating reviving it in monsoon session later this year to isolate the Bharatiya Janata Party from its ally Janata Dal-United.

The Union Home Ministry, however, has sought legal vetting of the Law Ministry on the draft legislation which will later be sent for the cabinet’s nod. The bill was gathering dust in the North block for close to two years now.

The government was keen on bringing the proposed legislation in the second half of the budget session, starting on April 22. Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan, too, is keen on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde introducing the bill in the upcoming session.

However, according to sources, it was later felt that the contentious legislation should be brought in Parliament later as it was one weapon in the ruling Congress’ arsenal which could unite secular forces, ahead of Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

The government also wants to drop its plan of bringing the controversial bill in the upcoming session as it does not want disruptions in the proceedings of the House. The second half of the budget session is significant for the UPA government as it is hoping to get through many important bills.

“This is not the right time to bring the bill. If the communal violence bill is brought in this session, it may have its toll on other legislative agenda of the government. It’s a difficult bill. We need to bring other parties on board,” a Congress leader said. “The bill may be brought in Parliament in the next session.”

  The Home Ministry had to shelve the bill owing to strong opposition from political parties, especially the BJP which had termed the move as “dangerous” and an intrusion into the federal structure of the country.  Many political parties had reservation on the stipulations of bill.

 “We are committed to bringing the bill to Parliament. We, however, also want to bring all the political parties on board before it is tabled in Parliament. We will bring the proposed legislation as soon as possible once we have a consensus of other parties,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.

Controversial bill

The government is also not keen on bringing another controversial bill that seeks to give 33 per cent reservation to women both in Parliament and State Assembly seats, as the move might provoke the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, which had reservations to some of the provisions in the proposed legislation.

The Congress was earlier firming up to bring the controversial Bill in the Lok Sabha for its passage recently when a  bitter war of words between SP chief Mulyam Singh Yadav and Congress leader and union minister Beni Prasad Verma was on.
“We will bring Women Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha in the second part of the Session. It is our party’s commitment to give 33 per cent reservation to women both in Parliament and State Assembly seats,” Alvi said on March 25.

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