Pranab seeks legal opinion on Telangana bill

Pranab seeks legal opinion on Telangana bill

Before leaving for South Africa on Monday to attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, President Pranab Mukherjee is believed to have sought a legal opinion on the draft reorganisation bill ahead of dispatching it to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly to seek the House’s view on carving out a Telangana state.

Government sources said the President, who goes by the rules, has sought a legal opinion from the Union Law Ministry on the time the Andhra Pradesh legislature can be given to offer their opinion, either for or against the creation of Telangana, as mandated by Article 3 of the Constitution. Government officials said that though it is the prerogative of the President to set a time-frame for the Assembly to execute the reference on the reorganisation bill, Mukherjee does not want to leave any possible scope for political parties to point fingers on this emotive issue.

Given the divergent opinions, it is also believed that the President has sought opinion on the application of Article 371-D for both residual and successor states to ensure equitable opportunities for education and public employment.

This special provision was only meant for Andhra Pradesh but now the government has inserted it in the draft legislation to extend it to the proposed Telangana as well despite the fact that Attorney General G E Vahanvati in its earlier opinion to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had suggested against giving Article 371-D status to proposed new state.

Meanwhile, even as Seemandhra districts are simmering with anger over bifurcation and celebrating UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s birthday on Monday as “Betrayal Day,” the AP Assembly is bracing for the worst-ever session since its inception as the draft bill on the reorganisation of the state will be taken for discussion during the proceedings.

The president may send the bill to the Assembly any day after Tuesday and ask the House to return it with comments in a prescribed time.

The winter session of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and the council will meet in Hyderabad from Thursday as per the decision taken by the state cabinet last week.
The decision was taken before the Union cabinet at its meeting on December 5 approved the draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013.

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