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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Cabinet cites 'sharp public criticism, wrong perception' to review ordinance tomorrow

Saubhadra Chatterji and Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 01, 2013
First Published: 19:09 IST(1/10/2013) | Last Updated: 21:23 IST(1/10/2013)

The Union cabinet meeting on Wednesday — fallout of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s strong intervention — will cite strong public sentiments as the reason behind the review of the controversial ordinance on convicted lawmakers.
 
The Union cabinet will meet on Wednesday at 6 pm to discuss the ordinance that has been publicly dubbed as a “complete nonsense” by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who also felt that the piece of legislation should be torn up and thrown away. Gandhi’s strong position has forced the cabinet to reconsider the ordinance that is still lying before the President.
 
The cabinet note says the proposal to reconsider the ordinance is based primarily on two points. One, “after the cabinet decision was made public, the provisions of the proposed ordinance have come for sharp criticism.” The note cites the second reason as: there is a “perception that the government seeks to protect convicted legislators by circumventing the Supreme Court judgment.”
 
But in a bid to defend its earlier position, the cabinet note also maintains, “any reasonable reading of the ordinance can not lead to this conclusion” referring to the perception of protection of guilty legislators.
 
Top government sources added that the meeting will discuss two options on Wednesday evening. First, to wait for President to promulgate the ordinance. Second, to withdraw the ordinance but wait for the standing committee to give its report on the related bill which is pending before parliament.
 
The bill to give limited legal protection to convicted lawmakers from losing their chairs was introduced in Rajya Sabha on August 30. The cabinet’s move, sources added, will mean that although the government is forced to back track on the ordinance on Rahul Gandhi’s pressure, the bill will stay on, at least for now.

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The Union cabinet meeting on Wednesday has no other agenda but the review of the ordinance.


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