OoP Bill may return to Kalam, as it is
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OoP Bill may return to Kalam, as it is

The Prez had on Tuesday returned the Bill to Parliament for reconsideration.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 02:02 IST

A day after President APJ Abdul Kalam returned the bill amending the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, there were indications from the Congress and the Left parties that the Government had no option but to get Parliament's second endorsement for the legislation -- as it is.

The only grey area was whether the bill would be brought in a specially convened Parliament session or during its monsoon session in July. It also remains to be seen whether Friday's cabinet meeting will discuss a Law Ministry note on the subject.

On Wednesday, Law Minister HR Bhardwaj gave away the UPA's game-plan by speaking in two voices: the Government would "respectfully reconsider" the proposed law in which "I see no deficiency."

To share the Government's views on the issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on Kalam but the details of the meeting were not disclosed. Even the EC that is seized of complaints against 40-odd MPs kept its counsel.

Bhardwaj's comments -- and his claim that he was in touch with the PM on the issue -- reflected the Government's thinking that changes in the proposed law to address the president's queries would defeat the purpose of carrying out the amendment.

Kalam has questioned the exemption of offices already under the EC's scrutiny and the retrospective application of the law. But without these legal cushions, the MPs under the poll panel's scanner run the risk of losing their seats.

In this backdrop, Bhardwaj's arguments in favour of making the law relevant retrospectively assumed significance. "It's very much valid. There cannot be two questions on this. Every now and then, we revalidate the law. It is a valid concept in law," he said.

He said the president's call for a uniformly applicable criteria may not be feasible, given the Constitution's federal structure that allows assemblies to formulate their own legislations.

First Published: May 31, 2006 10:34 IST