Cabinet meet today to discuss ordinances

Cabinet meet today to discuss ordinances

A special meeting of the Union Cabinet is likely to be held on Sunday evening to take a decision on promulgating a host of ordinances, including those to combat corruption, which are also considered dear to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, despite a division in the cabinet.

Amid apprehension that President Pranab Mukherjee may question the decision, Union Minister Kapil Sibal met him at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday evening. What exactly transpired between them is not known, but sources said the minister reportedly explained the reasons for promulgating the ordinances in a hurry.

Though the subject was listed in the last cabinet held on Friday, it was deferred after some ministers including Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar questioned the move, saying it would be unwise for the outgoing government to promulgate ordinances.

The Cabinet is likely to consider pushing the decision in Sunday’s meeting, sources told Deccan Herald.

Some Congress leaders had earlier expressed doubts on whether Mukherjee would approve it. The president’s assent needs to be carefully weighed as the ordinances may be questioned in court. If the president questioned the government about the hurry to bring in the ordinances, it would be an embarrassment to the government. Besides, the government is in a tearing hurry to take a decision as the Election Commission is likely to announce the Lok Sabha poll dates next week.

In a high-level meeting held on Saturday evening, chaired by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it was decided to convene a special cabinet meeting on Sunday evening. 

Sources in the government suggested that instead of bringing several ordinances, the government could restrict itself to approve ordinances on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill and the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill. But there is no official word on this.

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