Indian opposition blocks communal violence bill in parliament

imagesNEW DELHI: The Opposition members in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday got the introduction of the Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2014 deferred when the government failed to convince them about its intention to bring such legislation.

As the opposition did not appear to buy the government’s argument, the deputy chairman P J Kurien ruled that the bill stands deferred in view of the “mood of the House”.

Most of the opposition parties including BJP, CPM, CPI, DMK, AIADMK and Samajwadi Partyopposed the instruction of the Bill, arguing that the central government has absolutely no jurisdiction in bringing such a legislation which entirely comes in the purview of the states.

Opposing the introduction of the Bill, the BJP member and leader of opposition in the Upper House Arun Jaitley said, “Central government has absolutely no jurisdiction in bringing such a bill…This bill is entirely beyond the legislative competence of Parliament … After hearing the members’ concerns, I am all the more convinced that objections raised by opposition has more substance.”

Though the Union law minister Kapil Sibal insisted that the bill would not in any way violate the federal structure of the Constitution as the action under the new legislation will completely be with the consent of the respective state government where riots take place, his argument failed to convince the opposition.

Referring to Gujarat riots of the 2002, Sibal said such legislation was necessary for central intervention “If a state itself is indulging…if it is state-sponsored communal activity, then it is not a law and order issue…Like what happened in Gujarat is not a law and order issue”.

Sibal said even in that scenario the power to investigate is still with the state government. His remarks angered the Opposition members who did not appear to relent.

Although the law minister emphasized that there is no provision in the bill which directly or indirectly interferes with law and order position in the state which is the state’s responsibility, the opposition members led by BJP continued with their objection to the introduction of the bill.

As the din over the issue refused to die down, the deputy chairman deferred the introduction of the bill.

Source: Hindu Currents