March 6, 2021 9:49:30 am
The Haryana Assembly Friday witnessed the opposition and treasury benches entering into a war of words after the Speaker refused to allow tabling of a private member’s bill moved by a Congress MLA on the grounds that the amendments it sought were related to the Centre’s new farm laws — a matter which is sub-judice.
Speaker Gian Chand Gupta rejected the Haryana Agricultural Produce Markets (Haryana Amendment) Bill 2021, which sought to amend the APMC Act to make procurement of crops by anyone below the government-fixed minimum support price (MSP) a punishable offence.
Congress MLA B B Batra moved the bill, which also sought legal guarantee of MSP — a demand made by farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws.
As the Speaker refused to allow tabling of the bill, Batra asked “under which law is it written that if the matter was sub-judice, it cannot be taken up in the state assembly.” He added that the APMC Act was a state law.
The Speaker said the bill has been rejected as the amendments being sought were in violation of the farm laws enacted by Parliament.
Also, the fact is that the matter is still sub-judice with the the Supreme Court staying the implementation of the farm laws till further orders, he told the House.
The statement of objects and reasons attached with the proposed bill explicitly imply that the intent of the legislation is to amend the central acts through an amendment to a state act on a matter which is sub-judice, the Speaker said.
This led to a war of words between members of the opposition Congress and the ruling BJP.
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “We only want to make crop procurement a punishable offence.
This bill is not against the Centre’s Acts. Speaker is going against the rule book in rejecting the Bill. The Speaker has rejected the Bill citing the order of the Supreme Court, while the Honorable court has not given any such order”.
“APMC Act is a state subject and the state Assembly has full right to amend it. Despite this the bill was rejected. It is clear that the government is holding back from giving MSP to the farmers,” Hooda said.
Countering Hooda’s assertions, leader of the House and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, “You are saying that if the three farm legislations are implemented, it would impact people’s lives. But, since the Acts have already been stayed by the Supreme Court, there will be no such impact as you are referring to. You should read Supreme Court’s order. There is a stay on it. When the stay is vacated, we shall see then”.
However, Hooda again asserted that “In that case, we can make an amendment in our APMC Act”. However, Speaker intervened and said, “Whatever you have written in the Bill, we are only replying on that. If you submit it in writing again and correct what you have already written, we shall consider it”.
The Speaker said the state can’t alter the law as enacted by the Centre adding the matter can’t be discussed being a “sub-judice matter”.
On this, Congress’s Kiran Choudhry said the state can enact a law on agriculture as it is a state subject. The Speaker again insisted the state can enact it’s own law but can’t alter Centre’s law stating the Congress in its private Bill had referred the three laws as enacted by the Parliament.
Khattar said that the aims and objects of the bill clearly mention about the central legislations.
Hooda said that the aims and objects were mentioned because central farm laws will have impact in the state. Khattar also told Hooda that the “private member’s bill” wanted removal of Section 42 from the APMC Act, which was introduced by the erstwhile Congress government in 2008.
BJP MLA Abhe Singh Yadav said when Parliament enacts a law, no state assembly has powers to counter it.
“Even if Parliament enacts a law on state subject, the state has no power to change that Act,” Yadav said.
Congress MLA Jagbir Malik told the Speaker, “You have rejected it without valid ground, you must review it.”
Earlier, expressing solidarity with farmers, the Congress legislators reached the Assembly sporting black arm bands. Hooda also paid tributes to farmers who died during the ongoing agitation and suggested to include their name in the list of those for whom the House passed obituary resolutions.
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