Centre has remedy if Assembly rejects Telangana Bill

GoM to kick start bifurcation process today

SMITHA MISHRA/NEW DELHI: The Centre will go ahead with the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh even if the State Assembly “defeats” the draft Bill on formation of separate Telangana State. An indication to this effect was given by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar hinde on Thursday. He made it clear that the Centre had enough Constitutional remedies to go ahead with the formation of Telangana, even if the State Assembly rejected the draft Bill in this regard.

“Centre has enough Constitutional remedies to go ahead with the formation of Telangana, even if the State Assembly rejected the draft Bill”

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Addressing a press conference after a monthly review of Ministry of Home Affairs, Shinde gave a new twist to the bifurcation debate saying that the approved Cabinet resolution would not be sent to the State Assembly first, before the preparation of Telangana Bill. This is in contrast to the earlier statement of AICC general secretary and in-charge of Andhra Pradesh affairs Digvijay Singh that the Cabinet resolution would be sent to the State Assembly for its opinion through President of India.

The Home Minister said the seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted by the Centre to look into the modalities of the State bifurcation would first submit its detailed recommendations to the Union Cabinet for preparation of a draft Telangana Bill. It would then be sent to the President, who in turn would send it to the State Assembly for its opinion. Subsequently, it would be tabled in Parliament for passage.

Asked what might happen if the State Assembly rejected the resolution for the formation of Telangana, Shinde said: “The Constitution has provided a remedy.” He, however, did not elaborate on the Constitutional provisions for such an eventuality. In fact, President of India Pranab Mukherjee also is understood to have told the same to a delegation of YSR Congress party leaders led by party’s honorary president Y S Vijayalakshmi who met him on Wednesday.

When the YCP leaders asked him to see that the Centre did not carve out Telangana state if the State Assembly rejected the Telangana resolution, he told them that the Centre would strictly go by the Constitutional provisions. According to Article 3 of the Constitution, the plenary power for the formation and reconstitution of States is vested with Parliament. It states: “Parliament may by law (a) form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State, (b) increase the area of any State; (c) diminish the area of any State; (d) alter the boundaries of any State; (e) alter the name of any State…”

The article provides that “no Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either of the Houses of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the States, the Bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.”

Sources in the Congress said there was little to worry since clearance from the State Assembly was not “mandatory” for a new State. It can only express its views, but they are not binding on the Centre. Shinde said that the Centre wanted to hasten the process of Telangana formation and that was one of the reasons why the time-limit of six weeks had been done away to facilitate Group of Ministers to submit its report at the earliest.

Replying to queries on the turbulent situation in the State, he assured that the interests of Seemandhra people would be taken care of. On the issue of a new Capital, he reminded that Kurnool used to be the Capital earlier while Guntur had the High Court; but refused to give any plans.
On whether the GoM would meet people from various parties and other civil society organisations for wider consultation, Shinde said the Srikrishna Committee had already gone into it. The roadmap for the GoM would be decided after the first or second meeting. The GoM would hold its first meeting on Friday. He did not specify whether the Telangana Bill would be introduced in the winter session of the Parliament. He said the decision would be taken as early as possible. Asked about the capital for the new state, Shinde said the issue would be discussed with stakeholders. He said the GoM would give its report as early as possible.

Courtesy Metro India