The four amendment Bills passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday would require the assent of the President as the state has put the ball back in the Centre’s court. If the President does not give his assent, the issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who along with a delegation of all party MLAs met Governor V P Singh Badnore, indicated that they will not shy away from taking a legal recourse. He said that the Bills would have to first go to the Governor.
“Thereafter, they would also need to go to the President, who may approve or reject them….The state government will continue to fight the central laws legally. We will take the legal recourse, for which a team of lawyers and experts is on board,” Amarinder said.
He said that he will lead a delegation all party MLAs to President between November 2 and 5 and impress upon him to give his assent to the amendments for the sake of farmers.
For Punjab, history is repeating itself as during Amarinder’s last tenure in 2004, the Vidhan Sabha had passed the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act and the legislation finally landed up in the apex court.
However, Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda hopes that this time, the President would give his assent.
“If even a single MLA had voted against the Bills then it was a different story. Now, all members voted in its favour. When it was passed unanimously, that means it was the wish of the people. Everybody should yield to the wish of the people…,” Nanda said.
He said that the Centre’s farm laws were not only an attack on federalism but it is also intended at snatching livelihood from the farmers of the country.
As per the procedure, the Bills would be routed through the Governor to the President, who will send the legislations to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for their comments. The legislations could be sent to the Council of Union Ministers also for their advice before finally signed by the President if he chooses to do so.
Sources said the government is hoping that the matter will end up in the SC and take years for a final decision.
Rajvinder Singh Bains, an activist lawyer, who has been helping the state’s farmers organisations with his legal advice in their fight against Centre’s Farm Laws said the amendments brought in by Punjab had no doubt about their legal tenability. “The ball is now in Delhi’s court. If they do not care then a traditional narrative of antipathy against Centre will find more ground in the state,” said Bains.
Meanwhile, Dr Pramod Kumar, Director of Institute of Development and Communication, Chandigarh, said, “Unanimous rejection of farm laws sends a political message but without any constitutional and legal implication. It does not answer the apprehensions of farmers that the procurement may not be undertaken and the MSP may be withdrawn. It does not answer any questions related to food security concerns.”
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