Uttarakhand, Enemy Property Act likely to dominate parliament proceedings

New Delhi: The proposed discussion on the 2016-17 Uttarakhand budget and the Enemy Property Bill are likely to generate much heat between the treasury and opposition benches in both houses of parliament during the coming week.

Numerically stronger in the Rajya Sabha, the opposition parties are geared up to embarrass the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government yet again as members insisted they could stall the passage of the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari has said the government’s move to take up discussion on the Uttarakhand budget a day ahead of the vote of confidence by the Harish Rawat government — as directed by the Supreme Court — is “unconstitutional”.

“The government should await the result of the floor test,” Tewari said.

Uttarakhand was placed under President’s Rule on March 27, necessitating parliamentary nod for the state’s budget.

According to sources, the government’s agenda for the ensuing week — the last week of the second budget session of parliament — also includes passage of bills pertaining to anti-hijacking, Indian trusts (amendment) and child labour (amendment).

In the Rajya Sabha, Congress members K. Rahman Khan, Hussain Dalwai and P.L. Punia have already submitted note of dissent on the Select Committee report on the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016.

The report, prepared by a panel headed by Bharatiya Janata Party member Bhupender Yadav, was submitted on May 6.

“The provisions of the bill or the ordinance, as brought by the government, violates the very basic principle of natural justice, human rights and settled principles of law. The provisions of the present bill also disturb the balance on the subject. The new law will not sustain in a court of law,” a Congress member told IANS.

K.C. Tyagi (Janata Dal-United), D. Raja (Communist Party of India) and Javed Ali Khan (Samajwadi Party) also gave note of dissent identical to that of the Congress members.

The note of dissent says that this bill does not follow the lines of The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Second Bill 2010, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha and referred to the standing committee.

“Further, the bill seeks to insert certain provisions which totally violate Articles 14, 19, 300A of the constitution and is also against the principles of natural justice,” it said.

The Enemy Property Ordinance, 2016, was promulgated on January 7 to seek amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

The amendments through the ordinance include one that says that once an enemy property is vested in the custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property, irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death.

The Lok Sabha passed the bill in March.

In the Lok Sabha, where BJP sources claim the treasury bench scored a major victory during the debate on the AgustaWestland chopper deal on Friday, discussions on the Uttarakhand budget and passing of the Uttarakhand Appropriation (vote on account) Bill are listed by the government for Monday.

President’s Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27, ousting the Harish Rawat-led Congress government.

It was lifted following an Uttarakhand High Court order on April 21 but was reimposed by the Supreme Court a day later.

The apex court on Friday cleared the decks for Uttarakhand’s ousted chief minister Harish Rawat to take a vote of confidence on his government in the assembly on May 10.