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With Jharkhand govt not playing ball with Centre, 8 Bills from 2015 to 2021 in limbo

All pending Bills barring one were sent for Presidential assent during the previous BJP govt, with the Centre issuing 13 reminders for one of them.

hemant sorenSources in the Hemant Soren government said the Bills it had recently passed in the Assembly are currently only with Governor Ramesh Bais and are as old as only two weeks. (PTI)
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With Jharkhand govt not playing ball with Centre, 8 Bills from 2015 to 2021 in limbo
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Despite several reminders, the Jharkhand government has not responded to the “desired comments or clarifications” that the Centre has sought on eight state Bills it had sent for Presidential assent between 2015 and 2021. Among these Bills, The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) (Jharkhand Amendment) Bill, 2015 got 13 such reminders from the Centre.

The matter came to light on January 6 this year, when the principal secretary to the Jharkhand Governor, Nitin Madan Kulkarni, wrote to Jharkhand chief secretary Sukhdev Singh to make the clarifications “available as soon as possible so that further action can be taken”. This was after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (Judicial Wing) sent a letter to Kulkarni, reminding him that the Bills were “pending for further processing”.

The previous Raghubar Das-led BJP government was in power during 2014-19. The current Chief Minister, Hemant Soren, took over in 2019. All the pending Bills barring one were sent for the Presidential assent during the Das government’s tenure and most of the central reminders were also sent then.

In the Centre’s letter dated January 3, 2023 to the Governor’s principal secretary Kulkarni, MHA under-secretary VK Patnayak stated: “The bills were forwarded by your secretariat seeking the assent of the President…The requisite comments/clarifications of the state government on the comments of nodal Central ministries/departments sought by this Ministry in respect of the Bills have not yet been received despite several reminders. In absence of the reply from the state government, the bills are pending for further processing…You are requested to get the response/clarification of the concerned Departments of the state government expedited so that these bills can be processed further.”

Sources in the Soren government said the Bills it had recently passed in the Assembly are currently only with Governor Ramesh Bais and are as old as only two weeks. The issue has cropped up at a time the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has been accusing Bais of “unnecessarily delaying” the release of the Election Commission’s letter on Soren’s mining lease.

Sukhdev Singh was not available for comments. Sources in the government, however, claimed that most of the eight pending Bills were amendments that were passed “hastily”.

“Most of the Bills are made or amended in an ad hoc manner without applying the mind. For instance, in one of the labour Bills, the state government had amended the provisions which were already amended by the Centre. It was, therefore, asked to withdraw. In a bid to attain immediacy, the Bills are written in an ad hoc manner. The entire process seems to be a waste of energy and time.”


On August 17, 2017, the comments of the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment on the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition ) (Jharkhand Amendment) Bill, 2015, for example, were first shared with the state government. The Centre requested the state to consider withdrawing the Bill and 13 reminders have been sent, with the last one sent on August 2, 2021.

The state government was in the process of withdrawing the Jharkhand Labour Laws (Amendment) and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, 2018, as per a letter dated October 10, 2019. The Centre asked the state government to expedite the process through a letter dated January 9, 2020. The state got four reminders in this regard, with the latest being sent on August 2, 2021.

The comments of the Union Labour ministry on the Factories (Jharkhand Amendment) Bill, 2019 were shared with the state government on May 21, 2020. The requisite clarifications have however been pending since. Five reminders have been sent by the Centre, the last of which was on August 2, 2021.


The Union Ministry of Law and Justice (Legislative Department) sought clarifications on The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, (Prohibition of Supply and Distribution) (Jharkhand Amendment) Bill, 2021 from the state government in a letter dated October 10. 2022.

The Bihar Industrial Establishment (National and Festival Holidays and Casual Leave) (Jharkhand Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Industrial Disputes (Jharkhand Amendment) Bill, 2018, The Jharkhand Shop and Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and The Jharkhand Scheduled Areas Transfer of Immovable Property (by Scheduled Tribes) Regulation, 2018 are the other Bills for which clarifications sought by the Centre have still been pending.

First published on: 07-02-2023 at 07:00 IST
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