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UP Assembly Monsoon Session: Recovery of Damages Bill among 27 passed without discussion

The Opposition’s protests forced the Speaker to adjourn the brief monsoon session sine die. The session had started on Thursday, and was scheduled to end on Monday.

Congress MLAs, led by the party’s state chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, protest the government’s handling of law and order, the coronavirus pandemic and other issues, in Lucknow. (Photo by Vishal Srivastav)

The state Assembly on Saturday tabled and approved 27 significant bills, including the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Bill, 2020, without any discussion as the Opposition protested against the law-and-order situation in the state and alleged caste-based atrocities.

The day’s sitting lasted for about two hours 40 minutes, with over an hour taken up by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s speech. The Opposition’s protests forced the Speaker to adjourn the brief monsoon session sine die. The session had started on Thursday, and was scheduled to end on Monday.

Of the legislation approved on Saturday, 17 were ordinances converted to Bills. Among them were the Uttar Pradesh Security Force Bill that proposes to provide a dedicated and professional security force to special institutions and organisations; the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter (Amendment) Bill, which provides rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years; the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salary, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which proposes salary cuts upto 30 per cent; and the Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Control Bill, 2020. It safeguards frontline health workers, and also contains a provision of life sentence for those convicted of intentionally infecting others.

As Saturday’s session kicked off after the reading of condolence messages, Opposition legislators, including those from the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP), trooped into the well of the House despite Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit’s repeated requests to maintain social-distancing norms. They carried placards criticising the prevailing law-and-order situation, and shouted, “Kanoon vyavastha dhwasth hai, Yogi Baba mast hai [The law-and-order situation has collapsed, Yogi Adityanath is relaxing].”

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The protesting MLAs claimed that there had been instances of state legislators being beaten in police stations during the rule of the current government. “Vidhayak thane mein mara jata hai [MLA is beaten up inside the police station],” they shouted.

In response, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna said the Opposition was creating disturbances as it had no other work.

He claimed that members of the Opposition had moved court seeking the release of terrorists when their government was in power. “Yeh sab atankwadiyon ke samarthak hain [All of them support terrorists],” alleged the minister.

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Meanwhile, before bringing the session to a close after three days and four hours of sitting, Hriday Narayan Dixit claimed the approval of 27 Bills in such a short time was a record in itself. He also claimed that the Assembly had become the first in India to allow its members to virtually attend the session. Dixit said 33 members had attended the session online.

First published on: 23-08-2020 at 02:10:17 am
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