iconimg Tuesday, July 07, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 06, 2014
The UPA’s failed bid to introduce the communal violence bill in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday has given a boost to BJP morale. This was one of the rare occasions when the government had to withdraw a bill to avoid certain defeat on the floor of the House.

What made victory sweeter for the BJP was the support from secular groups like the SP, the CPM, the AIADMK and the TMC.

The BJP had opposed the bill on grounds that Parliament lacks the legislative competence to enact a law that encroaches upon the power of the state and was against the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution.

Arun Jaitley argued that the List II of the seventh schedule is the state list and deals with public order, police and public services of the states. “These are matters exclusively within the domain of the state. The central legislature has no legislative competence to enact on these issues,” Jaitley said.

The bill, Jaitley contended, deals with declaration and notification of areas which are disturbed areas, suggests steps for prevention of acts in relation to communal violence and has a chapter dealing with maintenance of public order.

“It then deals with the compensation mechanism and action to be taken against officers of the state government and the penalties which can be imposed upon them. All these matters are exclusively within the domain of the state executive,” he said.

“Parliament does not have power to frame such a law.” But the UPA moved in the last session of Parliament before the general election just to showcase this bill as a big achievement, he said.