Punjab shares assembly session agenda with governor amid row
Punjab governor, in a strongly-worded statement early on Saturday morning, reiterated his position for seeking the list of legislative business and reminded Bhagwant Mann of his duties
Chandigarh: Amid ongoing faceoff between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and chief minister Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government over the convening of the assembly session, the latter on Saturday softened its stand and decided to share agenda for the session with Raj Bhawan.
In a letter to assembly secretary Surinder Pal, the state government said it proposed to take up legislative/government business, which inter alia, includes burning issues of GST [Goods and Services Tax], stubble burning, and power scenario etc. for consideration of the House.
“In addition, business on different issues per notices received from the members may also be take up during the session as per the relevant provisions and Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha,” read the letter sent by the state’s department of parliamentary affairs.
There was, however, no mention of the ‘confidence motion’ move of the Mann government in the letter, which is going to be the main agenda of the session. The letter, seen by HT, stated that its content has been approved by the chief minister.
The letter comes after the governor, in a strongly-worded statement early on Saturday morning, reiterated his position for seeking the list of legislative business and reminded Mann of his duties.
“After reading your (CM Bhagwant Mann’s) statements in today’s newspapers, it appears to me that perhaps you are too much angry with me,” the governor said in the early morning release. “I think your legal advisers are not briefing you adequately.”
“Perhaps, your opinion about me will definitely change after reading the provisions of Article 167 and 168 of the Constitution, which I’m quoting for your ready reference,” he added.
Article 167 defines a chief minister’s duties towards the governor, while Article 168 speaks about the composition of the state legislature.
On Friday, the governor’s office sought details of the legislative business to be taken in the assembly session called by the state government on September 27, which led to strong reaction from the chief minister. The governor’s office also wrote to the Vidhan Sabha secretary, asking for details of the legislative business.
The state government, however, criticised the governor’s move in its letter to the assembly secretary.
“The demand for agenda and details while it is being met herein without prejudice cannot be a condition precedent for calling/convening of a session nor delay in convening of a session, once decided by the council of ministers, the decision of the latter being binding on the Honorable Governor,” stated the letter.
“Any contrary approach would be unknown to law, beyond the constitution, contrary to precedent, practice and convention and hence legally untenable,” it added.
In a tweet on Friday, the chief minister said in 75 years, no president or governor has ever asked for the list of legislative business before calling a session.
“Gov/Presi consent before any session of legislature is a formality. In 75 years, no Presi/Gov ever asked list of legislative business before calling session,” he tweeted. “Legislative business is decided by BAC and speaker. Next Gov will ask all speeches also to be approved by him. It’s too much.”
The AAP government on Thursday decided to hold a regular assembly session on September 27 after the governor withdrew assent for a special sitting called by it on September 22. The government had sought the session to bring a confidence motion, days after it accused the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to topple the government by bribing AAP legislators.