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Punjab Governor declares special Punjab Assembly session ‘illegal’

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Punjab Governor declares special Punjab Assembly session ‘illegal’
Chandigarh: The office of Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit has called the special sitting of the Vidhan Sabha, scheduled for October 20 and 21, as “bound to be illegal and any business conducted during the session will be unlawful and ab initio void”. Notwithstanding this declaration by the Governor, the AAP government has decided to go ahead with the session. Official sources in the Vidhan Sabha say the date-wise programme of the business has been declared, with obituary references and legislative business to be conducted on October 20, and the remaining business the next day.

A letter, declaring the proposed sitting as unlawful, was sent by the Raj Bhawan to the Secretary, Vidhan Sabha, late last night. Governor Purohit is on a three-day tour of the border districts and was in Gurdaspur today. The letter, which has his approval, has been sent by the Under Secretary.

The Governor’s move is along the expected lines, given that he had raised a similar objection to the previous special sitting on June 19 and 20.

The Governor had declared the June sitting as “breach of law” and the four important Bills passed in the session — the Sikh Gurdwaras Amendment Bill, 2023; the Punjab Police Amendment Bill, 2023; the Punjab-Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service) Amendment Bill, 2023; and the Punjab Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023 — are still lying in the Raj Bhawan.

The fresh letter sent to the Vidhan Sabha cites the earlier objection raised by the Governor on July 24 to the session held in June. This special session, too, was convened as an extension of the budget session called on March 3 by the Governor. The fourth budget session was adjourned sine die on March 22, 2023, but it has not been prorogued to date.

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Official sources in the Vidhan Sabha say the session will be held as decided as the second proviso of Rule 16 under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha clearly empowers the Governor to reconvene the sittings of the Vidhan Sabha during sine die adjournment before prorogation.

Vidhan Sabha’s list of past precedents

During eighth session of VIII LS, a meeting was reconvened between July 27 and August 28, 1987, after session was adjourned on May 12, 1987, but had not been prorogued. The two parts of session were treated as one session
During VIII session of Telangana Vidhan Sabha, House reconvened on four occasions — Feb 28, 2022, Sept 2; Jan 30, 2023, and July 28 — after the first meeting of session was adjourned on Oct 2021
Haryana Vidhan Sabha reconvened in June 1967, Oct and Nov 1971, Oct 1972, June 1973, May 1978, July 1997 and July 1999

Cabinet meet on 14 oct

Governor’s letter to Vidhan Sabha declaring session illegal may be discussed at a Cabinet meeting slated for Saturday, say sources. The session has been called to discuss SYL issue, pay homage to MS Swaminathan, bring amendments to GST Act & protest use of central agencies against political adversaries.
#Banwarilal Purohit

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