Punjab Vidhan Sabha passes four Bills unanimously on Day 2 of winter session
Transfer of Property (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Registration (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Punjab Canal and Drainage Bill, 2023, passed
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday passed four important Bills.
The first three bills, titled as the Transfer of Property (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Registration (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023, were presented by Punjab revenue minister Bram Shanker Jimpa, while the fourth Bill, the Punjab Canal and Drainage Bill-2023, was presented by state water resources minister Chetan Singh Jauramajra. This will ensure hindrance-free canal water to farmers and land owners for irrigation, maintenance, repair and timely cleanliness of canals, drainages and natural water courses.
All four Bills were unanimously passed in the assembly on the concluding day of the two-day winter session.
The Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab had proposed holding the winter session after governor Banwarilal Purohit prorogued the budget session held in March this year. The governor issued the order to prorogue (terminate) the budget session on November 16 following a letter from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha secretariat regarding the same.
The issue of prorogation of the state assembly had led to a standoff between the governor and the AAP government. Prorogation normally follows the adjournment of the sitting of the House sine die. However, the budget session continued till last week as it adjourned sine die. The state government first held a two-day special sitting on June 19 and 20 and then another meeting of the House was called on October 20 as an “extension” of the budget session. Purohit questioned the validity of the sittings held on both occasions, keeping four bills passed in the June session pending and withholding approval to three money bills.
On November 10, the Supreme Court held that governors lack the constitutional powers to question the validity of an assembly session convened by the elected arm of the state, pulling up the Punjab governor for keeping bills pending. It also did not spare the state government either, saying its actions of keeping the assembly in suspended animation amounted to defeating the Constitution. It, however, upheld the speaker’s supremacy in conducting the business of the House or adjourning its sessions.
The state government had moved the Supreme Court against Purohit for not clearing Bills. Since then, the governor has cleared the money Bills - the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023.