RS secretariat raises query over T-Bill

The Union Home Ministry has sought a fresh recommendation from the President after the Rajya Sabha secretariat raised a query over the status of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill.

The Upper House pointed out that the bill could be a Money Bill. If so, it could not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. After doubts were raised over constitutionality of introducing the bill in the Upper House, the Home Ministry decided to seek a fresh recommendation from the President after reviewing the initial plan.

The Rajya Sabha secretariat was of the view that since the proposed act would involve appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund, it was a money bill, which had to be first introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The move came a day after the President gave his nod to introduction of the bill in the Rajya Sabha. The bill was approved by the Union Cabinet on Friday, notwithstanding rejection by the state Assembly.

Sources said the bill was now likely to be introduced on Thursday.

The Bill has divided Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh, with a section vociferously opposing the move in Parliament. Six MPs who moved a no-confidence motion against the government were expelled from the party. Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said there was no clarity on which House would the bill be introduced. 

“There are also lingering doubts about whether the UPA is following, legally and constitutionally, the correct course in an effort to create the state of Telangana. I have a suspicion that the UPA is prolonging the issue. Is the eventual intent of the UPA to make the issue of creation of Telangana infructuous in the present session and consequently in the UPA rule?” he wrote in a blog post.

He said only eight working days were left in the current session. Two of them were Fridays, reserved for private members’ business. “Effectively, only six days in which legislative business are possible, remain in the current session. Issues such as formation of states create a strong underlying sentiment. It is unfair for political parties to create an aspiration and not fulfil it,” he said.

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