The meeting of the Joint Committee of Parliament on the land bill was today postponed for six days following demand from Congress as one of its members in the panel cannot attend the deliberations for being suspended from Lok Sabha, along with 24 other party MPs.
The move would mean that committee will have to seek a fresh extension as its deadline ends on August 7. The panel has decided to meet again on August 10 morning before Parliament convenes.
After unanimously agreeing to bring back consent clause and social impact assessment in the land acquisition law yesterday, the Joint Committee of Parliament was to discuss the issue of clause relating to the time-frame after which a piece of unutilised acquired land must be returned to its original owner.
Hours before the meeting, Congress members approached committee chairman S S Ahluwalia of BJP, urging him not to go ahead with the meeting as one of their members in panel, Rajeev Satav, will not be able to attend as he has been suspended from Lok Sabha for five days.
Suspension also means a member's inability to attend meetings of Parliamentary panels. Ahluwalia placed the matter before the committee where members agreed that the panel should meet after August 7, when the suspension ends. They felt that since the panel is striving for a unanimous report, one member should not be left out, especially when virtually the entire opposition is opposing the suspension of 25 Congress MPs for disrupting proceedings of Lok Sabha.
Now Ahluwalia will have to seek a fresh extension, which is likely to come on Friday. Only yesterday, the panel was granted fours days' extension till August 7.
"We urged the Chair to postpone the meeting and not to hold it in present circumstances," panel member from Congress Jairam Ramesh said, adding that NCP, BSP and TMC were supporting Congress on the issue and JD(U), SP and CPI(M) too had verbally extended their support.
A combative opposition today launched a united protest in Lok Sabha against the suspension of the 25 MPs as members of the Congress, TMC and NCP boycotted the proceedings and those of the Left, SP and RJD walked out soon after the House met.