National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah on Friday led a delegation of the National Conference Legislative Party that called on the Governor of J&K, N. N. Vohra and submitted two memorandu with the Governor regarding the Government’s sabotage of the Land Laws (Amendment) Bill 2016 and the regressive, overt attempt to weaken the Panchayati Raj System in J&K through the J&K Panchayti Raj (Amendment) Bill 2016.
The NC Legislative Party informed the Governor that the State Legislature in its Session dated the 30th of June, 2016 witnessed a well-orchestrated unholy drama executed by the State Government thereby drafting an unprecedented chapter in the history of the State’s Legislature.
Terming the State Government’s undemocratic sabotage of the Land Laws (Amendment) Bill as a dent to the dignity and honour of the State Legislature, the memorandum stated that “as per procedure after due diligence and clearance by the State Cabinet, the State Government presented ‘The Jammu & Kashmir Land Laws (Amendment) Bill 2016′ before the House”.
The NC Legislative Party informed the Government that the Bill was taken up for consideration by the House in its session dated 30th June, 2016 and in the course of the discussions on the Bill, it emerged that barring the BJP (whose Ministers in the Cabinet approved the said Bill) almost the entire House was of the considered opinion that the Bill of the Government in the form presented should be passed – which was a rare occasion where almost the entire opposition in unison was in agreement with the content of the said Bill and was supporting the Government on the Bill.
“The Government realized that put to vote, the Bill shall pass with majority even if the BJP legislators stand to oppose it. As soon as this realization donned on the Government, the Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation was on his feet and he brazenly requested the Speaker to refer the Bill to the Select Committee of the House. The request of the Minister, unfortunately setting aside all Parliamentary Procedures and Conventions was agreed to by the Speaker (who seemed to be very keen to do so during the entire proceeding) and the Bill was referred to the Select Committee ignoring the majority voice in the House,” the memorandum on the Land Laws (Amendment) Bill stated.
The NC legislative party led by Omar Abdullah through their memorandum apprised the Governor that this act of the Government and the Speaker’s role thereon had brought disrepute to the State Legislature which by the way of the unique powers vested in it, is considered the most powerful Legislature in the Federal System of the Indian Union. “The Dignity and the Honour of the State Legislature has been dented and 30th of June, 2016 will go down in the history of the State Legislature as the darkest day”, the memorandum added.
The NC Legislative Party appealed to the Governor to make necessary interventions to uphold the Constitution of the State and to implore upon the State Government to safeguard the interests of the Permanent Residents of the State.
In the memorandum on the regressive attempt to weaken the Panchayati Raj System through the Panchayti Raj (Amendment) Bill 2016, the NC Legislative Party informed the Governor that two amendments were moved by two NC legislators viz . Ali Mohamamd Sagar and Devender Singh Rana urging the Bill be taken to the Select Committee for wider consultation.
The NC Legislative Party informed the Governor that despite this fact the Bill was taken up for consideration and passed like several other Bills on the 30th of June 2016 when the entire opposition had walked out in protest against the unethical and undemocratic conduct of the Government and the Speaker in the consideration of the J&K Land Laws (Amendment) Bill 2016.
The NC Legislative Party highlighted that J&K has an indigenous robust Panchayati Raj System which is the soul of the decentralization of the Democracy and the essence of it is to involve the people in the process of Planning, Execution & Monitoring of Developmental Process at the grassroots level. “The J&K Panchayati Raj Act was drafted after studying various models of the Panchayati Raj in different States of the Country and has stood the test of time, acclaimed as a model Legislation of Panchayati Raj worth emulation. From time to time it has been amended to further strengthen the Panchayati Raj in the State to ensure better governance and delivery”, the second memorandum stated.
The NC Legislative Party informed the Governor that the Amendment [LA Bill Number 7 of 2016) was an overt attempt to weaken the system by scuttling the democratic principles and introducing the indirect process of the election of the Sarpanch, making a window for coercion, corruption and malpractices to manipulate the elections. “This is likely to have far reaching consequences and shall eventually discredit and weaken the Panchayati Raj System in the State”, the memorandum stated.
“The amended Bill is also likely to impact the newly created Blocks and their process of development, and shall undo the exercise done to make smaller administrative units for easy access of the people and focused, concentrated development”, the memorandum added.
For the crucial goal of protecting the Panchayati Raj System in the State, the NC Legislative Party led by Omar Abdullah sought that the Governor should return the Bill for reconsideration if and when it’s passed by the J&K Legislative Council and is sent to the Governor for his assent.
The NC Legislative Party led by Omar Abdullah also expressed its concern over the deteriorating security scenario in the State.