Opposition MPs today stalled the introduction of a private member’s bill by BJP MP K J Alphons that seeks to amend the preamble of the Constitution.
Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh had initially allowed the introduction of the bill, but later reserved his decision on it after a consensus was reached following protests by RJD MP Manoj Jha and MDMK’s Vaiko.
When the Upper House assembled post-lunch for Private Members’ Legislative Business, Mr Alphons was called to introduce the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (amendment of the Preamble) on the floor.
When the Deputy Chairman allowed its introduction, Mr Jha and Mr Vaiko protested saying such draft legislation requires the prior assent of the President.
The Deputy Chairman, however, said such a bill does not require the permission of the President.
Opposing it, Mr Jha said the bill is about amendment in the Preamble, which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
“Preamble is part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Please do not do this,” said Mr Jha.
Mr Alphons sought permission of the chair to speak on the bill. The Deputy Chairperson declined permission.
“At this juncture, you are not allowed to discuss the bill. If anything is there, it is on the House to decide on this and not the chair,” the Deputy Chairperson said, adding that the member has a right to introduce such a bill.
However, citing rules, Mr Jha said such bills are subject to the recommendations of the President under article 117 of the Constitution.
“Amendment to preamble is an attack on the edifice of the Constitution. Are we allowing this house to ransack everything?” said Mr Jha.
Some members from the treasury benches suggested that it had happened earlier also.
On this, Mr Jha said: “A bad precedent should not become a norm.”
Replying to it, the Deputy Chairperson said he has to follow the process.
“This bill does not require the assent of the President, I am making it clear to you. This is on the House to decide and not me,” he said.
Seeing a logjam, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan suggested the chair to reserve its decision and give a decision later.
“I suggest the Chair to reserve this and give a ruling on a later date,” he said.
Consenting to this, the Deputy Chairman said, “If this is the opinion of the House, then we reserve it.”
During the Private Members’ Legislative Business, several members introduced, including V Vijaysai Reddy, Prasanna Acharya, Vaiko, P Wilson, Sasmit Patra, Tiruchi Siva, KTS Tulsi, Fauzia Khan, Neeraj Dangi and Harnath Singh Yadav, introduced their respective bills.
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