Chandigarh: The office of the Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit on Friday objected to the two-day assembly session called by the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government from October 20 as an “extension of the budget session’’.
Terming the said special session as “illegal’’, a communication from the governor’s office also termed any business conducted during the session as "unlawful, and ab-initio void’’. The letter was addressed to the Punjab assembly secretary.
SYL canal issue: Centre to conduct survey
Notably, the governor’s objection comes three days after the state government announced its decision to call the two-day session amid ongoing slugfest over SYL canal issue. Also, even all the opposition parties were also demanding a special session after the recent direction of the Supreme Court asking the Centre to conduct a survey of the portion of land in Punjab that was allocated for construction of the SYL canal, a vexed issue since 1990.
The communication drew attention of the state assembly secretary to Purohit’s letter written to chief minister Bhagwant Mann on July 24 in which the former had objected to a similar extended session called "the special session of the fourth (budget) session of the 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha’’, held on June 19 and 20. It had held that based on legal advice, and for reasons stated in the said letter, the governor had pointed out that the calling of such a session was illegal, against the accepted procedures and practice of the legislature.
It went on to state that in the present case also, the calling of a special session of the fourth budget session of the 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha, suggesting that it was a continuance of the fourth session, which was adjourned sine die on June 20 was nothing but an attempt to extend the budget session which was summoned by the governor for March 3, and which stood concluded on March 22, after the completion of the agenda for business of the said session.
“Breach of law and procedure’’
The latest response of the governor to the state government’s move to convene the session without seeking governor’s permission is being seen on the expected lines that had led the governor and the Mann sparring on the issue. While Purohit held the session was a “breach of law and procedure’’, Mann termed the governor’s stance as ``unfortunate’’. Result? All the four Bills passed by the House were still pending with the governor.
Meanwhile, AAP leaders held that there was nothing wrong with calling the session as the budget session had been adjourned sine die, not prorogued. They held that the assembly speaker could thus call the assembly session on his own and no permission of the governor was required.
It may be recalled that Purohit and Mann have had frequent run-ins over various issues over the past one year.