Refusing to draw lessons from the fiasco over its move to promulgate a series of ordinances, the government is trying again. The HRD ministry this week asked the law ministry to clear an ordinance to set up a national women’s university in Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency Rae Bareli.
If the law ministry’s legislative department does clear the ordinance, the HRD ministry intends to take it to the Cabinet for its approval.
A Bill to set up the university — to be named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — was to be taken up by Lok Sabha on February 21, the last day of the winter session.
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It could not be taken up, however, leading to the effort at pushing through an ordinance barely a fortnight before voting begins.
Sources told The Sunday Express that HRD ministry officials have been in touch with counterparts in the law ministry “almost on a daily basis” to get the ordinance cleared. The sources indicated that there was “some unease” in the law ministry over the timing of the move.
“We are considering asking the HRD ministry to spell out the reasons behind taking the ordinance route at this juncture. The administrative department has to justify requesting the President to exercise his power under Article 123, which empowers him to promulgate an ordinance when Parliament is in recess if circumstances warrant urgent legislative action. Questions may be raised about the constitutionality and propriety of promulgating an ordinance while the election process is on,” said a top ministry source. The law minister would take the final decision, the source said.